Why Are Opioids Dangerous?
Certainly, when we are recovering from surgery there are a wide variety of drugs that can be administered to reduce the amount of pain we feel. So if a doctor prescribes opioids for pain relief then why are they so dangerous? Lets say for instance you just had a surgery which was a rigorous one.
The first few days after surgery the the patient may need something substantial to compensate the agony that comes after waking up from that said surgery. When used as directed opioid medications are able to safely help control pain however using these comes with risk if the medication is used improperly.
What Opioids Do?
Opioids are a group of pain-relieving drugs and they work by interacting with opioid receptors in your cells. Mayo Clinic says that they are made of “poppy plant — for example, morphine (Kadian, Ms Contin, others) — or synthesized in a laboratory — for example, fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, others).
When these drugs make their way through the blood stream and attach to opioid receptors in your brain cells there are signals that get released. These signals change your perception of pain and feel a pleasure like state.
Why Are Opioids Dangerous?
If opioids create a pleasure like state then why are they dangerous?
Even though the smaller doses can reduce the presence of pain, when taken in larger doses this is when the drug becomes highly dangerous to its users. When taken in excess this can lead to symptoms such as slower breathing, slower heart rate and can eventually lead to death. These drugs are also highly addictive. The more a person experiences the feelings the drugs induce the more the body desires their effects.
Opioids change the chemistry of the brain which can lead to drug tolerance. This means over time the dose needs to be increased to achieve the same effect. Taking opioids over a long period of time produces dependence, such that when people stop taking the drug, they have physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal (such as muscle cramping, diarrhea, and anxiety).
Dependence is not the same thing as addiction; although everyone who takes opioids for an extended period will become dependent, only a small percentage also experience the compulsive, continuing need for the drug that characterizes addiction.
Opioid addiction can cause life-threatening health problems, including the risk of overdose. Overdose occurs when high doses of opioids cause breathing to slow or stop, leading to unconsciousness and death if the overdose is not treated immediately. Both legal and illegal opioids carry a risk of overdose if a person takes too much of the drug, or if opioids are combined with other drugs (particularly tranquilizers called benzodiazepines).
How To Reduce Risk Of Opioid Use?
To reduce the risk of the potentially dangerous side effects of this drug the best advice is to follow doctors’ orders. The instructions they give you should be taken very seriously. Any overdose of medication could lead to serious consequences. It’s important for the doctor to know exactly the other medications being taken. They need to make sure the drugs will have the proper effect and the number one thing is to keep you safe.
If You See Something Say Something
Drug abuse is a very serious issue with far reaching consequences far beyond just one individual. If you notice behavioral changes in a person who may be acting different than normal then you should say something. Sitting by and watching someone rot from the inside out is a very real possibility and often times people simply don't know what to look for. Simple signs someone may be suffering from drug abuse include
Social Withdrawal - Often leads to hiding his or her activities from family and friends who could ultimately lose social contact leading to a person into a potential downward spiral.
Decreased Performance - Performance at work or school suffers. This could lead to a drop in moral and further influence the continued drug use.
Lack of Motivation - While abusing drugs people may become uninterested in a majority of normal things they would have otherwise been into. They may struggle to remember and think normally.
The best thing someone can do if they begin to see a person acting strange or unlike themselves is to strike up a conversation and ask if everything is alright. It's better to get them the help they need earlier rather than later. If help does not arrive soon enough it could end up being a fatal decision. Knowing what to look for is incredibly important and should be taken very seriously.
Get Off Pain Medication ASAP
The best advice that we can give you is to get off pain medication as soon as possible. These pain medications can become addicting which is why coming off them as soon as your body feels good enough is a good idea. When I went through a knee injury it was the worst pain you could wish on anyone. The surgery was extraordinarily painful, and the drugs administered did make me feel better.
However, as the body becomes dependent on them it changes your perception from wanting to needing. This is a dangerous feeling and as soon as I felt the pain getting slightly better, I decided to stop taking the pain medication. It’s the best advice that we can offer.
Just because an injury occurred doesn’t mean you can’t have a happy and healthy recovery. Renting a knee walker is one of the best ways to improve mobility. Pain medication can sometimes worsen depression so doing something as simple as going for a walk outside, hanging out with family and friends and doing normal household chores can have a profound effect on a person’s mental stability as they recover from an injury.