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Extreme Behavior Related to Opium

Extreme Behavior Related to Opium

Willingness to operate a vehicle is an example of extreme behavior when high

Papaver somniferum is a species of poppy plant whose latex contains opiate compounds like morphine, codeine, oripavine and thebaine. In order to make opium, incisions are cut into the seedpods and the latex sap that exudes from the plant is collected and dried. Specific opiate compounds are used to make various drugs, e.g., morphine can be synthesized into heroin or codeine into hydrocodone, but opium retains all the compounds in their natural states. The latex takes on a dark tar-like appearance when dried, and it can be smoked in papers, pipes and similar devices. Opium consumption is common in certain countries, but availability and demand are low in the US making the drug rare. Addiction motivates extreme behavior, and people who abuse opium will likely go to extreme measures to acquire the drug.

Opium Addiction and Dependence

As with any type of narcotic, opium binds to mu, delta and kappa receptors in the body that are typically activated by natural chemicals (or peptides) like endorphins. The drug triggers a supercharged shot of pain relief and brain reward that gives the user a euphoric high. If these unnatural effects are regularly experienced for an extended period of time, the central nervous system adapts by reducing natural chemical production and altering neurotransmissions. Dependence develops when regular opiate use becomes necessary to compensate for fewer peptides. As the body develops escalating tolerance levels, larger amounts of opium are needed to stave off withdrawal symptoms. At the same time, the increased activity in the brain reward system changes the mesolimbic pathway that transmits dopamine within the brain. These changes, which are a signature characteristic of addiction, typically lead to obsessive thoughts and compulsions, intense cravings, impaired judgment, mental health disorders and a host of physical symptoms.

Opium-Related Behavior

Opium abuse can induce extreme behavior as a result of both the narcotic high and the addiction/dependence. When high, users may exhibit the following potential behavior:

  • Increased risk from diminished inhibitions, motor skills and decision making
  • Greater willingness to operate a vehicle or take multiple substances at once
  • A general lethargy that can negatively impact work and family obligations
  • Activities that cause further damage to an injury for which the opium was originally prescribed

When addicted or dependent on opium, users’ behavior can also be extreme in numerous potential ways, including the following:

  • Illicit acquisition and transportation of opium
  • Illegal acts or financial sacrifices to pay for the drug
  • Overpowering preoccupation with using opium
  • Turning to heroin when opium is unavailable

Due to the rarity of opium in the US, an addict may pay a premium for the drug or risk bringing it into the country illegally. Moreover, illicit dealers commonly pass off hashish as opium, meaning the increased risk and expense is often for naught.

Opium Addiction Treatments

Whether the addiction involves opium or another form of narcotics, rehabilitation centers can provide effective treatments that address extreme behaviors, mental health, chronic pain and other related issues. Customized treatment plans are designed for each individual patient, and potential services can include the following:

  • Supervised detoxification in a comfortable environment
  • Integrated therapies to treat co-occurring mental health disorders like depression
  • Motivational therapies like contingency management and motivational interviewing
  • Behavioral treatments like cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies
  • Strategies to avoid and neutralize opiate-use cravings and compulsions

If you need help, our admissions coordinators are just a phone call away, and we are available 24 hours a day. We can answer questions, provide information, make recommendations and even check health insurance policies for treatment benefits. Addiction is a serious health issue so please call our toll-free helpline now.