Opiate abuse can lead way to an array of health complications and physical effects that may not go away even once the user quits taking the drugs. The physical effects of opiate abuse begin to set in quite rapidly when the user is abusing drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers and over time, the severity of these effects and the number of harmful physical effects that a user will suffer from can greatly increase.
Taking opiates will often cause the user to feel dizzy or lightheaded. This dizziness is one of the early effects that many users are seeking when they abuse the drug and continue to take opiates over and over again.
Many people who abuse opiates will suffer from long bouts of nausea and vomiting. The drugs themselves will cause nausea and vomiting as will a lack of using the drugs once physical dependence has set in. The vomiting in the early use is a result of the drug itself while vomiting later following an abrupt elimination of the drug from normal use is the result of opiate withdrawal.
Opiates such as heroin, prescription painkillers and similar drugs cause constipation. Generally, people who abuse these drugs will have difficulty regulating bowel movements while they are using regularly. Once use stops, it can take days or weeks for bowels to return to normal and in some cases, long term treatment using laxatives becomes necessary.
Opiate abuse is often characterized by the increase in tolerance that develops over time and the physical dependence that is likely to occur when an individual takes the drug for a prolonged period of time. Physical dependence, also known as opiate addiction, is a very common side effect of opiate abuse.
According to PubMed, although tolerance to the medication itself can develop quit quickly with opiate use, tolerance to the nausea and vomiting that is so common with opiate abuse usually does not develop. People who feel sick when they take these drugs usually continue to have these feelings despite using the medication for a prolonged period of time.
Inadequate Pain Management
Overuse of opiates will result in a tolerance that can make managing pain challenging. Many people who abuse opiates will have to be prescribed other methods of pain treatment when they are injured or hurt because their body has already developed an immunity to the analgesic qualities of the opiate itself.