Narcotics act as central nervous system depressants and have strong effects on the brain functions of users. These changes cause narcotics side effects.
Narcotics Side Effects Causes
When used on a frequent basis, the fast pain-relief narcotics drugs provide may come with some fairly uncomfortable side effects. Narcotics, also known as opiates, closely resemble the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals, which accounts for why these drugs work so well.
Like any other drug, narcotic side effects can grow increasingly worse the longer a person keeps taking them. Unlike other types of drugs, causes for narcotics side effects stem from weakened or damaged brain cell functions, which is cause for concern. With long-term use, narcotics side effects can eventually become a driving force that causes addiction to take root.
Narcotics Effects on the Body
Opiates, the active ingredient in all narcotic drugs, function as central nervous system depressants in the body. These drugs slow down pain signal between nerve cells, which accounts for their effectiveness as pain relievers. Opiates also slow down most every major system in the body as well. This includes:
- Heart function
- Respiratory function
- Body temperature
These are the body’s major systems, all of which work to maintain an overall state of equilibrium. When opiates enter the picture, narcotic side effects develop as one or more systems get thrown out of whack in terms of the chemical processes that run them. Increased heart rate, slowed breathing rates, constipation and chills all result from opiate effects on the body, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine.
Not surprisingly, narcotic side effects on the body only grow worse with time as opiates continue to weaken, and eventually impair central nervous system functions.
Narcotics Effects on Brain Functions
Since the brain heads up the body’s central nervous systems, it suffers most of the damage from narcotics side effects. The brain, spinal cord and digestive system actually contain cells that produce opiate-like chemicals known as endorphins. These cells house opiate receptor sites which respond any time they come into contact with opiate materials. In effect, the brain can’t tell the difference between its own endorphin chemicals and narcotic drugs. As a result, the brain interacts with narcotics in the same way it does its own endorphin chemicals.
Narcotic side effects on the brain include:
- Slowed cognitive processing
When taking narcotics on a frequent basis, narcotic side effects begin to alter brain functions to the point where these symptoms start to impair a person’s ability to carry out normal everyday tasks.
No other cause for narcotics side effects poses more risk than becoming physically dependent on these drugs. The longer a person uses narcotics the higher his or her tolerance levels rise. This means the body requires increasingly larger doses to produce the same desired effects. Once this process starts up, it won’t take long before addiction sets in.
In effect, physical dependency and addiction create a vicious cycle where a person keeps taking the drug in order to avoid experiencing narcotic side effects. There’s really no end to this cycle until a person gets help with breaking the addiction cycle. Unfortunately, the longer this cycle continues the harder it is to break it.
If you or someone you love needs help overcoming narcotics dependence, call (800) 407-7195 now to discuss treatment options with a caring specialist.