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Short- And Long-Term Effects Of Opioid Abuse

The effects of opioid abuse can be both short- and long-term. A person could experience negative consequences that can easily be rectified, or fixed. However, in the long term, these consequences could become more difficult to fix. This can make the abuse continue, as a means of coping with the things that happen as a result of abusing opioids. Both the short and long-term effects of opioid abuse can be life-changing. Getting proper care as soon as possible can help to ensure that these consequences are less life-altering. 

Signs of Opioid Abuse

Opioids are dangerous substances used medically to treat pain. Drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone are examples of opioids. Illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl can contain opioid properties, and these two are the leading factors in opioid overdose and overdose deaths. The effects of opioid abuse can be felt by not just the person using them, but also those around them that care for them. 

Signs someone could look out for in a loved one that could be indicative of them abusing opioids include:

  • Isolation
  • Behavioral changes
  • Avoiding family functions
  • Avoiding hanging out with friends
  • Stealing
  • Lying
  • Legal problems
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

These signs are things loved ones can look out for in order to identify potential opioid abuse so that their loved one could receive life-saving care in order to gain recovery. Opioids are dangerous drugs leading to many overdose deaths across the United States every year. Getting proper care is essential to gaining control back of their life and having the best chance at avoiding these fatal consequences.

Short Term Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Signs of Opioid Abuse

In the short term, the effects of opioid abuse can affect a person physically, and emotionally, and can cause behavioral changes. Some of these effects can include drowsiness, slowed breathing, constipation, nausea, and unconsciousness. Opioids are depressant drugs and can cause emotional depression to worsen in those who use them. They also cause body movements, and response times to become much slower.

In those who abuse opioids, overdose can occur as a result of the lungs and heart not working as they normally would due to the effects these opioids produce. The respiratory system can be affected, causing shallow and labored breathing, resulting in suffocation. Those who abuse opioids should seek professional help as soon as possible to stop the abuse and begin a life in recovery from addiction to opioids and opioid abuse.

Long-Term Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Signs of Opioid Abuse

Long term, the effects of opioid abuse can lead to dependence, and inevitably addiction to opioids. It can also lead to overdose, and potentially death. Continued use and abuse of opioids can cause a person’s body to become accustomed to a certain level of use, requiring more and more of the drug to achieve desired effects. Once a person is dependent on opioids, the body will then require the drugs in order to function properly.

Without opioids, the body will experience withdrawal symptoms which can be extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant. These symptoms can include high blood pressure, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle aches and cramps, and diarrhea. The symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be severe, up to and including death. Having proper care when trying to stop using opioids is crucial to ensuring safety as the withdrawal process is completed.

Untreated Opioid Abuse

Untreated opioid abuse can lead to complications as a result of using these dangerous drugs. The effects of opioid abuse can be dangerous. Using opioids in itself is dangerous, so leaving substance misuse untreated can lead to further addiction and a potential overdose or overdose death. It can also result in legal issues, broken family structures, as well as further health complications.

Receiving proper professional care as an individual decides to end opioid abuse is vital to ensuring the best possible result for a healthy and happy future.


When a person is undergoing opioid withdrawal, the symptoms can be excruciatingly painful and extremely uncomfortable. If they attempt to do this cold turkey at home, the chances of them returning to using opioids are high. The effects of opioid abuse withdrawal can lead a person to an overdose due to the body not being able to process a given amount of the substances.

Detox helps to prevent this from occurring. Having proper care, and being able to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal can help to create a positive experience so that they can undergo the process with minimal discomfort. In addition, clients could begin a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program during detox that will help them in long-term recovery.

Getting Help for Opioid Abuse 

Opioid abuse is a life-threatening illness. Those who use these dangerous drugs are often risking their lives and overall well-being. Overdose, legal consequences, and mental health concerns can all occur as a result of abusing opioids. The effects of opioid abuse can take effect both in the short and long term for an individual. Proper care can help.

At Louisville Addiction Center, we offer help to combat opioid abuse and addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling, recovery is possible. Contact us today and begin the process of recovery.