Opium Addiction Treatment, Effects & SympToms

Opium is a naturally-occurring substance that is the source of many of the most potent opioids in existence today. It is a fast-acting and highly addictive depressant that can create feelings of euphoria in addition and pain relief.

Introduction to Opium

Opium is a natural substance made from the opium poppy and has been used in the synthesization of other powerful opioids such as codeine, morphine, and heroin. Its origins date back to 3,400 B.C. when it was first cultivated by the Sumerians for its euphoric effects. 

Although opium is a naturally occurring narcotic (an opiate) it is still an illicit substance that was banned by the U.S. Congress in the 1970s. Today, its extremely potent derivatives are fueling the current opioid crisis which claims several thousands of lives each year. 

How Does It Work?

Opium is a depressant and functions as all other opioids do. It binds to mu receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and get, and activating the reward-centers of the brain. This results in flooding of dopamine, up to 10X higher than what is released naturally, causing a feeling of euphoria. Additional side effects include pain relief (or higher pain tolerance), and a feeling of calm.

Opium comes in a wide variety of forms and can be used in nearly every way imaginable. It is most often smoked, injected, or taken as a pill, although it is also fairly common to find other drugs laced with this substance. It is fast-acting and induces intense and near-immediate highs. The speed in which the onset takes place can vary by use method, with intravenous being the most potent. 

Opium Side Effects

Opium (and all other opioids) affect the parts of the brain which are also responsible for regulating respiratory functions. In the most serious of instances, breathing can stop altogether, causing hypoxia in the brain and resulting in a coma. 

Short-Term Side Effects

  • Constipation
  • Nausea 
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Loss of appetite

Long-Term Side Effects

  • Coma
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Loss of sex drive

The Best Treatment for an Opium Addiction

Although traditionally less potent than its synthetic and semi-synthetic derivatives, opium is still highly addictive and could result in physical dependence from a single-use. Withdrawal effects can take place as quickly as a few hours after the last use and persist for up to a week. The symptoms of opium withdrawal range from being flu-like to requiring hospitalization. Many opium addicts find dealing with cravings to be one of the hardest parts of the recovery process. Our facilities offer comprehensive detox programs to not only address any unpleasant symptoms that may occur but also to help with the management of any opioid cravings.

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