The Impact of Opioids on the Brain

Due to their availability in the prescribed form, opioids are among the most abused drugs in the United States. Health professionals use opioids as medicine due to their capacity to relax the body and relieve pain. Opioids affect the brain’s reward system to make you feel “high,” which has led to their non-medical use. You can quickly develop an addiction if you misuse prescribed opioids. If you or your loved one suffers from opioid addiction, contact a reputable Northern Illinois Recovery Center to receive individualized treatment.

How Prescription Opioids Can Lead to Addiction

If you repeatedly misuse prescription opioids, you can develop substance use disorder (SUD). Depending on your usage, this condition ranges from mild to severe and from temporary to chronic. Continued misuse of prescribed opioids resets your brain and leads to the most severe form of SUD, addiction. At this stage, any effort to stop using the drug causes severe withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, vomiting, muscle pain, uncontrollable leg movements, and cravings. These symptoms make it difficult for you to stop abusing opioids.

The Impact of Opioids on the Brain

Even with a short period of abuse, an interdependence between opioids and the brain can develop. Opioids bind to both the pleasure and non-pleasure receptors that manage or mask pain in your mind. When opioids attach to these receptors, they prevent your brain from sending pain signals to the body. Opioids then flood your body with dopamine, regulating your emotions, movement, and feelings of pleasure. This causes a sense of euphoria, which makes you want to repeat the experience. Within a short time, you develop an addiction, and your brain adjusts its functioning to accommodate the intake of opioids. Over time, your mind loses its capacity to function normally without the presence of opioids. The good news is that an opioid addiction rehab center in Northern Illinois can help you manage the withdrawal symptoms as you receive treatment to overcome opioid addiction.

What Are the Effects of Opioids on the Brain?

Opioids can make you feel relaxed and happy for a while. However, the interdependence of opioids and the brain can have harmful effects, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Slow breathing

These effects can lead to severe problems. For instance, slow breathing can limit the amount of oxygen reaching the brain, causing you to suffer from hypoxia. Hypoxia has severe psychological and neurological effects, such as permanent brain damage, coma, and even death.

Who is at Risk of Opioid Addiction?

If you abuse opioids, you are at risk for developing an addiction. The best way to avoid an opioid addiction is to use prescription opioids as recommended by a health professional. However, some factors may also increase your risk of addiction. If you have a family history of substance abuse, you are at a higher risk of abusing drugs. Older adults are also at risk of opioid addiction because they have multiple prescriptions, and their slow metabolism affects the breakdown of drugs.

Learn More About the Impact of Opioids on the Brain at Northern Illinois Recovery Center

At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we offer several addiction treatment options for people with opioid addiction. We incorporate a wide range of addiction therapy services to help you overcome any drug addiction. Some of the programs we offer include:

If you or a loved one struggle with opioid addiction, call Northern Illinois Recovery Center at 855.786.1978 for information on support and treatment facilities in Northern Illinois. We will educate you on the impacts of opioids on the brain, help you manage the withdrawal symptoms, and provide the tools and skills you need on your path to recovery.