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How Do Opioids Affect the Brain and the Body?

Graphic of a body that symbolizes the question, "how do opioids affect the brain?"

Opioids are a class of drugs which include prescription pain relievers like codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. They also include illegal drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil. When used properly, prescription opioids can be effective in treating severe pain. However, when used incorrectly or without a prescription, opioids can have serious negative effects on the brain and body. Destructive opiate use can lead to a life of addiction, overdose, and death.  

Honey Lake Clinic’s opioid addiction treatment program takes a holistic approach to recovery, addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of addiction. Here, patients can find hope and healing in a supportive, faith-based environment. To learn more about our opioid addiction treatment program, call 888.428.0562 today. 

The Effects of Opioids on the Body 

The physical signs of opioid misuse—its effects on your body—are usually the first to become observable. Short-term effects include: 

  • Drowsiness 
  • Sedation 
  • Constricted pupils 
  • Slowed breathing 
  • Constipation 
  • Losing consciousness 

However, in short order, continued opioid abuse will cause more significant cognitive, cardiovascular, and respiratory concerns.  

With continued use, you build up a tolerance, meaning your body will require more of the drug to feel the same effect. The medications will no longer overcome the pain, leading to a worsening pain syndrome. You become physically dependent on the opioid, to the degree you will suffer withdrawals if you stop using it.  

The Effects of Opioids on the Brain 

Opioid abuse also affects your brain. Using opioids produces an intense feel-good sensation as it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls feelings of pleasure and reward. This reaction is what makes people continue to use opioids despite negative consequences. 

Opioid abuse interferes with your ability to process information. You’ll experience deficits in cognitive ability resulting in memory loss, confusion, and an overall dulling of your mind. You’ll have trouble concentrating. You’ll be easily distracted. As these symptoms mount, they will impair your judgment and decision-making to the degree it starts spilling into all areas of your life. You’ll get to the place where you think your only option is more of the opiate to dull the psychological pain.  

Other effects of opioid use on the brain include: 

  • Anxiety, agitation, and paranoia 
  • Hallucinations, delirium, and psychosis 
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts 

The longer you use opioids, the more you are at risk for permanent damage to the brain.  

The Effects of Opioids on Your Life 

At this point, the opioids—not you—are in control of your life. Your mind, body and actions are now manipulated by your desire for more.  

If your loved one—your spouse, child, friend or co-worker—is using opioids, please understand that they are not making conscious decisions. Signs that a loved one is misusing opioids include: 

  • Increasing secretiveness  
  • Lying  
  • Manipulation 
  • Lack of self-control and self-discipline  
  • Impaired or poor decision making  
  • Less reliability 
  • Less trustworthiness 
  • Struggles with openness, honesty, intimacy, and vulnerability  
  • Strained relationships with others 

Over time, the use of opioids will lead to a downward spiral in your life marked by loss, isolation, and suffering. You won’t be able to maintain healthy relationships or hold down a job due to the physical and mental effects of opioid abuse. Your reputation and self-worth will suffer as a result. 

The Effects of Opioids on Your Soul 

Finally, the most serious dangers of untreated opioid addiction are the spiritual consequences. As you become more connected to opioids, you become disconnected from God. God is no longer on the throne of your heart, but rather you’ve promoted opioids to be the master and idol you serve. You lose touch with the power, peace, and influence the Holy Spirit brings in these desperate times.  

“Addiction has a way of taking the top spot in our hearts, minds, and lives,” says Dr. Benzio, “As it does, you begin believing the lies of addiction rather than God’s truth. The path of addiction that lies ahead is full of destruction, disappointment, and despair.”  

How Opioid Addiction Treatment Can Help 

With the right help and support, recovery from opioid addiction is possible. At Honey Lake Clinic, we offer a comprehensive Christian addiction treatment program that addresses not just the physical aspect of opioid addiction, but also the emotional and spiritual components. We offer detox, residential treatment, and a partial hospitalization program with on-site housing. 

Detox is not the end of recovery—it is the first of many steps in the treatment and transformation process. After detox, the body doesn’t need the opioid anymore, but psychologically and spiritually, the person is still addicted. They need to go through a transformation process of their mind, their emotions, and their spirit. 

Our goal at Honey Lake Clinic isn’t just to get you off drugs—we want to help you experience true healing and find sustainable recovery. Our experienced team of professionals combines evidence-based therapies with a faith-based approach to addiction treatment. We believe that spiritual growth and a strong relationship with God are key components of lasting recovery. 

Reclaim Your Story—Call Honey Lake Clinic Today 

You don’t have to struggle with opioid addiction alone. Let us help you find freedom from the grip of addiction and start living a fulfilling life rooted in faith. Contact us today at 888.428.0562 or connect with us online to learn more about our opioid addiction treatment program and begin your journey to recovery. Your story doesn’t have to end with addiction—let us help you reclaim it and start a new chapter in your life.