Narcotics help eliminate pain, stress and anxiety. They can also induce feelings of intense euphoria, and a strong sense of well-being in a person. However, when taken in higher quantities than prescribed or when combined with other addictive substances like alcohol or other illegal drugs, narcotics can also prove dangerous.
There are various types of narcotic drugs: Illicit drugs such as heroin and prescription pain medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. Narcotic drugs come in various forms, including tablets, syrups, capsules and intravenous injections. While narcotic prescriptions are bought, sold and traded on the black market, right along with heroin and cocaine, some opioid prescription drugs are readily available in the family medicine cabinet, particularly if family members or pets have undergone surgical procedures.
These drugs can be taken responsibly and moderately, as prescribed, but tolerance, or the need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects, naturally builds – increasing the chances of a person becoming physically dependent on the drug.
Often people use narcotics to suppress emotional pain apart from the physical one. The euphoria that accompanies narcotic use makes abuse prevalent. When opioid prescription drugs are taken without a medical need, the effects can be life-threatening, leading to overdose and even death.
Narcotic abuse: Signs and symptoms
Post developing a tolerance, an individual may become dependent on the drug and continue to use it despite knowing its adverse consequences.
Following are some of the common signs and symptoms of narcotic abuse.
- Absence of pain (analgesia)
- Itching or flushed skin
- Poor judgment
- Respiratory depression
- Risk of choking
- Slowed breathing rate
- Slurred speech
- Small pupils
- Red Flags of Abuse
- Clogged blood vessels
- Collapsed veins
- Compromised immune system
- Increased pain sensitivity (hyperalgesia)
Narcotic abuse: Withdrawal symptoms
Narcotics work by sticking to specific proteins called opioid receptors – found in the brain, gastrointestinal tract, spinal cord, and other bodily organs. When these drugs attach to the said receptors, they reduce the perception of pain.
Users who take opiate drugs for long stretches of time can affect their body’s ability to reduce pain naturally. Chronic opioid abuse can also contribute to nerve cell degeneration as well as debilitating withdrawal symptoms of narcotics that begin when a person tries to reduce or stop taking the drugs completely.
Although withdrawal from narcotics can be a bit unpleasant, it is not life-threatening and includes symptoms like anxiety, mild confusion, restlessness, nausea, excessive sweating, and loss of appetite.