Opium Effects: What Happens to the Body and Mind?

Last Updated: August 30, 2021

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Opium products may result in overdose or death. Getting first-hand information on the short and long-term impact of Opium is essential. This article will explain what opium overdose is, and the signs indicative of overdose. Also, the danger of the use of Opium and withdrawal symptoms are highlighted.

Opium Effects: Influence on the Mind and Body

Opiates bind to receptors in the brain, this causes feelings of euphoria, which most people experience after taking an opioid drug such as heroin. This happens because the substance mimics a natural neurotransmitter and takes over the brain. Opioids help relieve pain. An opioid is a synthetic or naturally occurring chemical that interacts with opioid receptors in the body. According to a  DEA Resource Guide (2020 Edition), opium effects on the brain depend on its administered route. When smoked, opiate chemicals pass into the lungs, which are quickly absorbed in the small intestine, then have information transmitted into the cerebral cortex. After the administration users may experience a euphoric rush, followed by relaxation and relief from physical pain.

The use of opiates reduces muscle movement in the gut leading to constipation. It also dries out the mouth and mucous membranes in the nose. Opiates use leads to physical and psychological dependence and do lead to overuse. People who use this medication often have serious health problems.

Opiates are addictive because it’s pleasurable in the short run and painful in the long run. People often refer to Opiums as the Judas of drugs; it kisses and then betrays. Tolerance means needing more of a substance to produce the same result, and withdrawal happens when someone suddenly stops using it.

What are Opium Effects?

Opium effects are often unpleasant. The user may feel sluggish or tired or develop a high temperature. Using such a potent medication for a long time can have devastating results on a person’s physical and mental health. The use of opiates while chronic does result in dependence – the craving for the substance will often cause the user to misuse other drugs. Having the ability to control consumption is one thing, but having the will to stop is another. In some cases, physical health problems do result from the chronic utilization of opiates.

The result of the continued usage of the drug can be categorized into short-term results and long-term impact.

Short-Term Effects of Opium

When it comes to Opiates, there is a policy that guides which makes it imperative to be aware of the short term effects of Opium. Most people who utilize this do so because it provides them with relief for their physical ailments. But individuals should be aware that the short-term effects of opium usage are the relief they experience when taking the substance and the dangers of consuming it. At first, treatment with the medicine can flood the brain to produce a euphoric sensation. The body tries to compensate for addiction by increasing tolerance, meaning the pleasure experienced with each high is less. Eventually, body functions slow down.

Opium Psychological Result

The psychological effects of Opium are that it affects a person’s mental or emotional health; these are caused by the excess of dopamine being transported back and forth between neurons and the target organ. Opiates are hazardous substances and can cause a wide range of psychological problems.

Opium side effects include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • The slow movement of the body
  • Apnea
  • Mood Swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Emotional numbness
  • Dark-coloured urine

When Opiates are used for anesthesia, people experience a sleepy, dreamy feeling that makes them feel relaxed and euphoric. The drug does the work of numbing pain and anxiety, making people feel good even as their bodies go through painful experiences. A person may become confused as a result. However, the damaging causes of substances are well-documented and must be taken seriously.

After an opiate high wears off, the brain reacts by producing opposite emotions and sensations. The person becomes depressed and feels lousy. The person becomes restless and unable to sleep. Only more of the drug substance can provide relief.

Long-Term Effects of Opium

Opium effects are long-lasting and drugs like opiates can become highly addictive, and as a result, many people have a difficult time getting rid of the habit. The effects of Opium vary depending on how much time has been spent under the influence and whether the doses have been higher or lower than expected. The drug can cause damage to the brain and system and reduce resistance to infection.

Over time, when the drugs are repeatedly used, the human brain and body can get accustomed to it. The substance will then need to be present in larger quantities for it to have the same result. Overuse of medication is a severe problem especially to the health of an individual. When the medicine is not available to relieve the withdrawal signs, the user’s priorities are rearranged to obtain more of the substance. This eventually becomes an urgent need.

Long-term effects of Opium include:

  • Muscle wastage
  • Blurred vision
  • Blurred coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Increased baseline heart rate
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Constipation
  • Psychosis
  • Coma
  • Death

Physical Long-Term Impact of Opium

Opiates are known to physically reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood, which ultimately can lead to a person having a reduced ability to live a long life or suffer from cardiac issues such as stroke or heart attack. The most common physical opium side effect is respiratory depression, leading to unconsciousness, sleepwalking, or being unaware of the surroundings.

Opium Overdose

Some questions asked by people are oftentimes related to the excessive consumption of opiates. If a person takes too much of an opioid, the brain will be overrun with the drug. As a result, breathing can be slowed or stopped, leading to health damage or even death.

During the last 15 years, 841000 Americans have died from an overdose of drugs; the Centre reported this for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioids drive the majority of excess taking of medications. Overdose is a serious health problem that affects millions of Americans. Although it can be treated, many people who suffer from overdosing will die from injuries or infections without the appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of Opium Overdose

Opium overdose can be fatal if the correct medical procedures are not taken. Purity, quantity, and even user error can influence a deadly outcome. Overuse can be mild or may become highly severe depending on the situation. When someone takes excess opiates like Heroin or painkillers, the body releases the potent opiate antidote naloxone into their bloodstreams, but it takes a while for the medicine to work.

People suffering from an opiate overdose may have the following symptoms:

  • Small and constricted eyes
  • May fall asleep or lose consciousness
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Choke or gurgle due to slowed breathing
  • Pale body

Dangers of Opium Use

Opiates can cause severe withdrawal signs. It makes no difference whether the user takes the drug occasionally or regularly, for habit is soon formed, and there is almost no escape from the chain of enslavement to the person’s health. It is easier to free a man from slavery than free the man from dependence on opiate habits. It is a horrible habit. The medicine is responsible for many deaths and criminal activities, including drug dealing and drug abuse. It produces a feeling of well-being and often results in a longer and more intense physical and psychological impact than other medicines, making it difficult to separate the use of the medicine from other destructive habits.

Opiates can damage an individual’s ability to think, react appropriately to social situations, expose an individual’s privacy, recognize threats and rewards, interact constructively with others and fulfil personal needs. People who use opium-based drugs often move on to more potent opiate medicines, which leads to the risk of getting hooked on the substance because of heightened dopamine activity in the brain. Also, there is a risk of changing ingestion to feel the impact more quickly.

How Quickly Can Opium Withdrawal Happen?

The most notable symptoms of Opium withdrawal occur during the first 12 hours after discontinuing the use of this drug. Symptoms are typically observed within 24-72 hours after ceasing use and last about one week.  Although it is not life-threatening, it can be a complicated process to go through. The question asked, centers on what happens when a person stops the medicine?

On stopping the medicine, an individual may experience the following: dizziness, anxiety, confusion, slow reaction times, a rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and muscle spasms. When these signs are noticed, it is essential to realize that these signs may not happen immediately, and this leads to yet another question, how long will these signs take? The answer is not far-fetched as it may be several hours before the body realizes that the person has stopped taking the medicine. The transition from substance use to sobriety often starts with restlessness, irritability, and flu-like symptoms.

Opium Withdrawal Symptoms

Opium withdrawal symptoms occur due to the deficiency of the drug in the body system. It controls all the organs of the body, and a person becomes dependent on it ultimately. Early signs of withdrawal of the drug can come on rather gradually, causing some people to start smoking or snorting opiates again; this helps mask withdrawal and prevents people from identifying the early stages of opiate withdrawal.

Some of the severe withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Muscle pain
  • Severe pain in the joints
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Shivering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysphoria, or an all-encompassing bad feeling
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Depressed mood
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Severe headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Psychoses

Opium effects include the rapid development of tolerance following feelings of pleasure. The addictive high created by the drug makes it a trap for the addicted because the addicted are soon dependent on the substance to avoid withdrawal indicators. The more opiates used, the more pain-free and worry-free it becomes, and there is the experience of feeling relaxed, pain-free, worry-free drives some people to keep using the medicine, repeatedly creating a dependence on it.

These withdrawal indicators are like a roller coaster ride, as the user’s emotions will constantly flux. The person may feel tired and unhappy, re-experience distressing memories, or make poor decisions that negatively affect the user’s health later. All of this is temporary. If the user can withstand the challenges without temptation, the user will slowly adjust to everyday life.

The Importance of Detox from Opiates

As seductive as it is, opiates can also be a gateway drug to harder drugs. And when a person starts using them, they exert a powerful force on the user’s health – pushing in one direction and almost pulling them back in another. That is why it is essential to detox from prescription opiates before moving on to more problematic drugs. If users try to operate with painkillers despite knowing that they are causing longer-lasting damage to their health, the user will suffer severe consequences. For opiate addicts, medical treatment is a safe, effective way to stop using. Unlike other drugs, the strength of opiates makes cold turkey a risky approach. Users who want to quit should contact medical professionals for help to get information on drug detox.

Withdrawal can be extremely intense, so detox must be done under medical supervision. The longer the user takes the substance, the more complex the withdrawal will be; that’s why it is recommended to detox as early as possible. After the detox, patients receive regular therapy sessions, with each session lasting about an hour.

Opium Treatment Options

There is the option in which the patient receives medical treatment to help remove physical dependence on opium medicine. The patient can receive rapid detox, and be placed under anesthesia for 1-2 hours to avoid the result of withdrawal. The medicine is removed from the brain and spine, which helps remove physical dependence on the medication.

The policies that help opium addicts quit are different. For example, some give addicts drugs to help fight cravings, while others say that only physically dependent people on the medication should use it. Addicts face all kinds of problems due to enslavement- from physical dependence to psychological issues and even death – so it is vital for opium addicts to contact doctors or medical professionals for help as soon as possible.

Although medicine use can help people manage pain indicators, it is also associated with adverse impact. When people take opiates, it’s essential to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully. Opiates are causing a growing number of deaths in the U.S., with more adults reporting using Heroin than in previous years. Although a few are scared of their addiction going public, which is why doctors take the privacy of individuals seriously.

Opiates and prescription painkillers are harmful to the body and impact negatively on habit stability. They can quickly lead to physical dependence if used excessively. People addicted to Opiates should contact doctors now and get more information so as to avoid addiction and death.  Patients should begin the healing process early to deal with opium side effects of pain relief medication and drug enslavement. According to the National Institute on Drug abuse, people who sought the help of doctors had a higher chance of recovery. Expert advice in drug rehabilitation can be beneficial for overcoming dependency and dealing with the life-threatening consequences that it will have on a person’s health.

The Results of Opium are Fatal

This article has documented the lethal cause of Opium and the methods used to procure it, provide information on its abuse, its policy and adverse impact, as well as the signs of Opium addiction and the signs of dependence. Information on the excess of this substance and the importance of detoxification has been included. Finally, people should contact medical professional help and get more information on some of the signs and symptoms of Opium addiction to curb it before it leads to overdosing and death. In cases of medical concern in relation to addiction to opiate substances, users should be assured that privacy will be protected when contact is made with medical professionals. All information shared with medical professionals is assured of privacy.

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Page Sources

  1. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S Department of Health and Human Services (n.d.). Preventing An Opioid Overdose [E-book]
  2. Drugs of Abuse, A DEA resource guide (2020 edition) (Vol. 2020). (n.d.). [E-book]
  3. Spotlight on Opioids. (n.d.). [E-book]
  4. Common causes of constipation. (2021, February 15). Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/common-causes-of-constipation
  5. Opioid overdose. (2021, August 4). Https://Www.Who.Int/News-Room/Fact-Sheets/Detail/Opioid-Overdose.
  6. NIDA. 2020, July 10. Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/opioidmisuseandaddiction.html

Published on: May 3rd, 2017

Updated on: August 30th, 2021

About Author

Peter J. Grinspoon, MD

Dr. Peter Grinspoon is an experienced physician with long-term clinical practice experience. As a former analgesic addict, Dr. Grinspoon knows precisely how important it is to provide patients with effective treatment and support. Medical writing for him is the way to communicate with people and inform them about their health.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.