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How Drugs Affect Men’s Brains

How Drugs Affect Men’s Brains

If you use opium regularly, after a period of time you will develop withdrawal symptoms

Drug abuse takes a toll on your body and affects the way your brain functions, but opium users are often unaware of the impact their abuse has on the brain. While you will regain much of your brain function over time if you stop abusing opium, the effects of addiction can take years to wear off and even then your brain chemistry may not be the same as it originally was. The sooner you quit opium, the more likely you are to make a full recovery. If you suffer from addiction the best time to quit is now.

Opium and the Brain’s Reward System

The brain is the most complex organ in the body, and when you start using opium the brain is literally rewired and begins to function differently. Neurons, which send and receive messages, and neurotransmitters, the messages or signals that neurons communicate with, are both extremely impacted by addiction. Dopamine is a specific type of neurotransmitter the brain uses to induce pleasure. When you use opium, the active chemical in the drug binds to receptors in your brain, which causes a drastic increase in the release of dopamine. The increase in dopamine is what causes the intense pleasure associated with opium use. This is also what creates opium’s addiction potential. You (and your brain) begin to associate opium with pleasure and the more you use the drug the more of the substance you need to achieve that initial high.

Opium Withdrawal Symptoms

Prolonged use of opium or other opiates causes the brain to adapt to heightened levels of dopamine so that it depends on the presence of opium to function normally. If you use opium regularly, after a period of time you will develop withdrawal symptoms, which are your brain’s way of notifying you that it needs more opium to function. If you go through detox opium withdrawals will pass, but as long as you continue using opium the symptoms will return when you go some time without a dose. Opium withdrawal symptoms can range from anxiety and depression to sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Opium withdrawals are miserable and most users who try to quit on their own relapse within hours or days of quitting because withdrawals are too uncomfortable. The best way to combat withdrawal symptoms is to enroll in a professional treatment program where you can go through detox as well as therapy to both overcome and manage your addiction.

Tolerance: More Opium for the Same High

As you use opium, your brain develops a tolerance for the substance, meaning that you need more of it to achieve the same high. Tolerance combined with withdrawal symptoms cause long-term opium users increase their opium use over time. When you first use opium it seems like a cheap high with little negative effects, but when withdrawals set in and your tolerance skyrockets suddenly opium can be a very expensive habit.

Opium Impairs Decision-Making

Obviously when you are under the influence of opium you cannot make the best decisions, but opium actually affects your decision-making abilities in the days following abuse as well. Users who take opium often nod out, which may best be described as a euphoric, dream-like state between consciousness and unconsciousness. When you nod out you may hallucinate or lose control of your motor functions. Nodding out can lead to accidents if you are operating machinery or driving and if you pass out while vomiting you could choke and die. If you use opium regularly, even when you are not actively abusing the drug its metabolites are still present in your brain and your cognitive abilities are not at peak levels. You may feel groggy or hazy for a few days after using opium. Fortunately, once you quit using most of your brain function will return within a few weeks.

Help for Opium Addiction

If you are struggling with opium addiction, call our toll-free helpline to learn more about how you can quit. Our trained addiction experts are standing by 24 hours a day to speak with you about your addiction and to let you know how addiction treatment can help. We want to give you more information about what to expect during rehab and if you have your health insurance on-hand, we can let you know if your policy will help pay for your treatment. The sooner you begin addiction treatment for opium the more likely you’ll be to recover, so pick up the phone and call us now.