Opiates are highly addictive narcotic medications that work in the brain to help relieve pain. These substances bind to the opioid receptors in the brain to depress the central nervous system. Opiates tell your body that you are not really in pain. When taken, they produce a sense of calm, relaxation, and euphoria. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says:
Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some prescription opioids are made from the plant directly, and others are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure. Opioids are often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Prescription opioids are used mostly to treat moderate to severe pain, though some opioids can be used to treat coughing and diarrhea. Opioids can also make people feel very relaxed and “high” – which is why they are sometimes used for non-medical reasons. This can be dangerous because opioids can be highly addictive, and overdoses and death are common. Heroin is one of the world’s most dangerous opioids, and is never used as a medicine in the United States.
Your body has natural endorphins to help you recognize, reduce, and cope with physical pain. When someone continues to use opiates long-term, the natural process decreases and eventually stops. When the body stops producing these natural endorphins, higher and higher doses of opiates are required to prevent uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
There Are MANY Side-Effects of Opiate Misuse
Opiates have several side-effects associated with them. Some of the most common include drowsiness, sedation, dizziness, constipation, nausea and vomiting, and respiratory depression. One of the most dangerous side-effects of opiates is the risk of physical dependence. Often a person will be prescribed an opiate for an illness or injury, and then due to an untreated mental illness, they will continue taking the medication as a means of self-medicating. Opiates reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and can produce euphoria, especially at high doses.
Can Opiates Cause Chronic Fatigue?
Opiates and chronic fatigue; is there a correlation? There have been studies done on the adverse effects of long-term opioid therapy. Luckily, if you or a loved one are addicted to opiates, it is possible to stop using them for good and reverse these negative trends. An article published by the National Institute of Health has plenty to say about Opioid Use Disorder related side effects and their danger to abusers:
Through a variety of mechanisms, opioids cause adverse events in several organ systems. Evidence shows that chronic opioid therapy is associated with constipation, sleep-disordered breathing, fractures, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysregulation, and overdose. However, significant gaps remain regarding the spectrum of potentially opioid-related adverse effects. Opioid-related adverse effects can cause significant declines in health-related quality of life and increased health care costs. (NIH)
As stated above by the National Institute of Health, chronic opioid therapy is associated with a dysregulation in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal glands. HPA Axis Dysfunction/Adrenal Fatigue is a part of the endocrine system. This is the chemical messenger system of the body through which hormones are secreted. This system consists of the three glands (hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal). When your body is under stress, it releases two hormones: corticotropin and adrenocorticotropin. Once these hormones are released, they travel through the bloodstream to the adrenal glands, which then triggers the release of cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s fight-or-flight hormone. High levels of cortisol in the body stop the production of corticotropin and adrenocorticotropin hormones which then decreases the levels of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Essentially this works as a feedback loop. Over time all of these glands become desensitized and will stop producing hormones. If this is not corrected, it can lead to adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue has a lot of symptoms associated with it. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Problems getting up in the morning
- Lowered immune system
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Blood sugar problems
- Inability to handle stress
- Increased abdominal fat
- Brain fog/fatigun
- Slow wound healing
- Dry skin
- Poor muscle tone
- Low libido
- Craving for salt and salty foods
- Depression and anxiety
- The most common sign of adrenal fatigue is tiredness or chronic fatigue. So do opiates cause chronic fatigue? The answer is yes, long-term opioid use is responsible for chronic fatigue along with problems that affect several other organ systems.
Chronic opioid use is so common in today’s society. We are truly experiencing an opioid epidemic, and it can have devastating effects on a person’s health in the long run.
Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction issue, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness assists men, women, and families throughout the United States that are struggling with substance abuse and are searching for addiction treatment. We can help you get on the road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Call us today.