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How Opium Affects Sleep

How Opium Affects SleepOpium is the raw tar found in opium poppy plants and the active ingredient in all opiates. It is commonly used in prescription painkillers or synthesized into heroin, but people can also consume opium directly in the following ways:

  • Include the opium tar in a marijuana joint
  • Heat it on a spoon and inhale the fumes through a straw
  • Inject it after dissolving the tar in a liquid

The Latin name for opium poppy is “papaver somniferum,” which means “sleep-inducing poppy.” While it is true that opiates induce drowsiness, the name’s implication is somewhat inaccurate, because scientists have recently discovered that opium can actually inhibit proper sleep patterns.

Opiate-Induced Sleep Disorders

People who use opium to treat pain or chase a euphoric high often think the drug promotes sleep. While the drug does sedate users, it also causes any of the following sleep problems:

  • Alternating drowsy and alert states
  • Irregular dream cycles and insomnia
  • Inhibited rapid eye movement sleep
  • Blocking the deeper stages of sleep
  • Promoting hyperalgesia through impaired sleep
  • Ongoing drowsiness despite long periods of sleep
  • Reduced sleep-related neural changes

Opium represses a neurotransmitter called adenosine that initiates and regulates sleep, so the net effect is it simultaneously stimulates the brain’s ability to induce sleep and wakefulness. This shoves opiate users in a dilemma where they are sleepy, but unable to fall asleep; furthermore, when sleep does occur, it provides few benefits.

Opium Side Effects

Opium can impact sleep patterns, but it can also affect users in other ways as addiction takes hold. For instance, the following effects may all stem from opium addiction:

  • A dangerously depressed respiratory system
  • Obsession with acquiring more opiates
  • A diminished immune system that leads to infection
  • Promoting mood disorders and emotional problems
  • An increased sensitivity to insomnia-producing anxiety
  • Exposure to serious legal and health risks
  • Potential damage to the brain, kidneys, liver and lungs
  • Decrease in blood pressure and certain hormone levels
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, stomach bloating and cramps

With a decrease or stop in opiate use, users experiences extreme withdrawal symptoms, which also contribute to sleep issues.

Opium Abuse Treatment

Professional rehab is the most effective way to treat opiate addiction. Backed by research and experience, rehab facilities break addiction in any of the following ways:

  • Tapered detox to wean the toxins out of a user’s system
  • Dual Diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health issues
  • Holistic therapies to restore normal sleep patterns
  • Behavioral therapies to improve cognitive functioning
  • Determining personal situations that trigger opiate use
  • Group and individual counseling sessions

Opium addiction can cripple users, but rehab has the tools to counter this damage and promote a healthy recovery.

Opium Addiction Help

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to discuss opiate addiction, warning signs and rehab options. Our counselors can help with any issues you have, and they can also check your health insurance policy for treatment coverage. Opium disrupts sleep, but it also takes lives. The risks are too high to delay treatment, so please call now.