3 Signs You’re Abusing Opiates to Control Your Emotions
Anyone who’s taken opiates as a pain treatment well knows how fast and effective these drugs can be. While opiates are specifically formulated to relieve physical symptoms of pain, they have similar effects on emotional pain as well.
This means someone who starts out using opiates to treat an injury may opt to keep taking the drug after the injury heals, especially if he or she is dealing with some sort of emotional discomfort. In effect, abusing opiates to control your emotions paves a wide path for addiction to develop.
Knowing what signs to watch for can go a long way towards stopping opiate abuse in its tracks.
For information on opiate abuse treatment options, call our toll-free helpline at 800-653-7143.
Primary Effects of Opiates
Opiates share the same chemical makeup with the brain’s endorphin chemicals. When ingested, the brain can’t tell the difference between the drug and its own chemical materials.
According to the journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, these similarities account for why the brain and body become dependent on opiates over time. In the process, opiate effects place a considerable strain on endorphin-producing cells, causing ongoing cell damage to develop.
Under these conditions, abusing opiates on an ongoing or frequent basis will change the brain on both a chemical and structural level.
3 Signs You’re Abusing Opiates
1. Taking Opiates When Stressed
Opiates act as depressants, slowing the brain and body’s chemical processes. These effects play into the drug’s pain-relieving properties.
As depressants, opiate effects can relieve stress levels just as easily as they can relieve physical pain. For someone who leads a stressful lifestyle, it can be easy to fall into a habit of popping a pill when stress levels run high.
2. Using Opiates to Gain Relief from Difficult Emotions
As opiates interfere with the brain’s normal chemical processes, the areas that regulate emotions are also affected. People who struggle with symptoms of depression may experience considerable relief from distressing, emotion-based symptoms when taking opiates for pain.
Much like taking opiates when stressed, it can be easy to fall into a habit of taking the drug in an effort to self-medicate feelings of depression, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Over time, this pattern of abusing opiates carries an incredibly high risk for addiction.
3. Using Opiates to Cope With Daily Life
Opiate interference in brain chemical processes not only affects the emotions, but also the areas of the brain that regulate thinking and behavior. Also known as the brain reward system, this area of the brain forms a person’s overall belief systems, priorities and defines his or her daily motivations.
When abusing opiates on a frequent, ongoing basis, the mind reaches a point where it comes to depend on the drug to cope with daily life responsibilities. Once a person reaches this point, a full-blown addiction has taken hold.
Opiates have far-reaching effects when taken on a regular basis over extended time period. What may start out as a simple pain remedy, can easily turn into opiate abuse without a person even knowing it.