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What opioid abuse can do to your body and life

Perhaps you suffered an injury in a crash, a work-related accident or some other accident. In the alternative, you may suffer from a medical condition such as cancer that causes you intense pain. In order to help you control your pain, your doctor prescribed you an opioid.

The medication did its job. Your pain is under control, and you are on the mend. However, while you took the drug, you became addicted to it, and you continued using it long after your pain disappeared. Now, you have a problem. Part of you wants to quit taking the pills, but another part of you doesn't or can't. Other than potentially facing a variety of criminal charges associated with an addiction to pain medication, you may wonder what it will do to your body.

The problem may start small

One of the problems with taking medications is that your body builds up a tolerance to them. You find yourself needing more and more in order to achieve the same effects. Logically, you may recognize that you have a problem, but your body screams at you to take the pills in increasingly larger doses. This is how opioid addiction often begins. Your body craves the pain-relieving and/or euphoric results these drugs provide.

The problem of going through withdrawal

If you try to quit taking opioids, you will more than likely experience withdrawal. To say this experience is uncomfortable would be an understatement. If you have tried to stop taking the pills already, then you are probably well aware of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • You experience disruptions in your sleep pattern.
  • You could suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
  • You could suffer from depression.
  • You could break out in cold sweats, have a fever and experience chills as you would if you had the flu.
  • You may find yourself seriously fatigued.
  • You could experience nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Perhaps the most intense symptom is your desire for the drug. It may consume your thoughts, and your body will physically hurt from the cravings. Your desire to avoid these symptoms could cause you to start using again just to feel better.

The problem of not going through withdrawal

If you decide to continue using because you don't want to go through withdrawal, you could end up suffering from a variety of health issues, such as the following:

  • Your respiratory health declines significantly to the point where you could experience organ failure. Without enough oxygen, organs such as your brain will not function properly and suffer damage.
  • You could develop opioid-induced constipation, which is what it sounds like. The drugs cause your bowels to relax to the point where they become ineffective and you become chronically constipated, which leads to numerous physical consequences.
  • Your sex life and fertility could suffer. This appears to affect men more than it does women.
  • You could suffer irreversible damage to your brain.

You could suffer these health consequences even if you are lucky enough not to overdose.

The problem of criminal charges

Outside of the physical and mental consequences of addiction, your opioid use could gain the attention of police. Driving while taking these drugs, even legally prescribed, could result in charges of operating a vehicle while impaired, which is Ohio's version of DUI. If police stop you and discover pills on you, it could result in other charges as well.

What you need is help, not jail time. It may be possible to get you the help you need to get your life back on track without the repercussions of a criminal conviction.

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