Keep in Mind How Opioids Affect Your Brain

The opioid crisis is real, and it can look different for every person. Some people take opioids that are prescribed to them while others use illegal drugs, such as heroin, that are also part of the same overall class of drugs. Opioids are extremely addictive, and it’s important to understand their effects on the brain before you take them.

What Are Opioids?

Most people have heard of opium. Opioids are a type of drug derived from the opium poppy plant, and they are often prescribed to people who need help managing pain. Doctors should be cautious about prescribing opioids because it is easy to get addicted to them. OxyContin, Vicodin and morphine are all common opioids. Opioids can also be obtained illegally. Heroin is an opioid that claims lives every year due to its addictive properties. While opioids can be very useful for someone struggling with severe or chronic pain, they must be used with caution and under supervised care.

Effects on the Brain

Opioids work by binding to receptors in the body and blocking the perception of pain. For some people, they also cause a feeling of being high or content. Opioids interact with your brain’s nerve cells to produce pleasurable effects that can improve your mood and make them addictive. When your brain is flooded with the dopamine that opioids usher in, you will feel euphoric. You may also feel nausea or discomfort, but people still become addicted because the good feeling is so extreme. Your brain will want the high the opioids offer, and if your body is in pain, it’s hard to resist the pleasure these drugs can give. 

Be Safe

If a doctor prescribes opioids to help you deal with pain, don’t panic. There are ways to be safe while taking medications that are considered opioids.  First of all, don’t ever take more medication than you are prescribed, and make sure your doctor does not offer you unlimited refills. Take them only in the correct amount when you are supposed to, and only take them for as long as absolutely necessary.

Don’t consume alcohol or other drugs while your are taking opioids, as this can cause a multitude of problems. Don’t take opioids given to you by anyone but your doctor, and never attempt to obtain them without a doctor’s permission. Even then, make sure you have a reputable pain doctor who will check on you and make sure you aren’t showing signs of addiction.

Opioids can be very helpful for people in pain, but they are also addictive. Understanding how much they affect the brain can help you take them seriously. 

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