Opioids have legitimate medical uses as painkillers, so they are often prescribed to people after surgeries or when healing from injuries. However, even taking opioids for an actual medical need can lead to addiction.
Addiction leads to legal issues, such as arrest and fines, which can impact your life for many years to come. It can also cause serious health issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. This guide explains a few of the effects, as well as risk factors that increase your chance of developing addiction issues.
Short and long-term effects of opioid addiction
When you first begin taking opioids, you will experience a rush of good feelings. Not only does this decrease any physical pain you are feeling, it can also create a sense of euphoria. This intoxicating effect is part of the reason why it is so easy to become addicted to opioids. However, over time the effects you feel will become dulled. This is because your body is building a tolerance to the drug.
As your tolerance becomes higher, you will need more of the drug to experience good feelings. If medically prescribed, it is unlikely your doctor will increase dosage, as medical professionals are aware of the addiction risk. It is at this point that many people turn to illegal outlets in search of the drugs. This can entail purchasing illicit substances, including heroin, or seeking out illegal prescriptions for opioids.
Who is most likely to become addicted
While it is very easy to become addicted to opioids, some people have a higher chance of experiencing addiction issues. For example, if there is a history of substance abuse in your family, your risk is much higher than someone without this background. People who experience anxiety or depression, or those in stressful home situations, are also more likely to abuse drugs. An existing drug or alcohol issue also increases your risk.