Is Narcotic Tolerance Dangerous?

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Tolerance is a condition that occurs in almost every individual who takes opioids for a long period of time. Even if someone is taking these drugs through the care of their doctor and does not stray from the prescription amount given to them, they will still likely become tolerant to the drug’s effects over time. Therefore, it is important to understand the possible dangers of narcotic tolerance and how one can avoid them.

Why Does Tolerance Occur?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, becoming tolerant means “it takes a higher dose of the drug to achieve the same level of response achieved initially.” This is because the body becomes used to the drug’s effects and the same amount of the drug no longer produces an effect at the same intensity when the individual has been taking it for a long time. Some people believe this is a definite sign of addiction, and while it often goes hand-in-hand with the disorder, it may not always be a clear sign.

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Tolerance occurs because the person taking the drug has been taking it for a long time, and the body’s reaction to the drug has begun to change. “Tolerance develops at the level of cellular targets” in the case of narcotic use and abuse, causing the enzymes in the body to adapt to the drug. After this adaptation, the drug itself will have fewer effects on the cell firings and less of an ability to affect the individual.

What are the Dangers of Narcotic Tolerance?

Narcotic Tolerance

Narcotic tolerance can lead to addiction.

As stated by the National Library of Medicine, “Taking narcotics to control the pain of cancer or other medical problems does not itself lead to addiction,” but these drugs are habit-forming in nature. This means the individuals who take narcotics as treatment for a long-term pain condition must be careful not to abuse the drug in any way or it could possibly lead to addiction.

Because a person who becomes tolerant to narcotics will feel that the same dosage of the drug no longer causes the effects they are used to, they may consider taking more of the drug in order to achieve those desired effects. This can be very dangerous and lead to abuse, addiction, severe dependence, and other problems.

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47,300* People Addicted
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8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

Narcotic tolerance can lead to an individual abusing the drug in order to feel the same effects they once experienced. It can also lead to overdose when those who are abusing opioids take too much of the drug at once, trying to bypass their tolerance for it. Tolerance to narcotics, while common and not an issue in itself, can lead to many problems for an individual, which is why it is important for both doctor and patient to communicate about the issue in order to avoid any of the possible consequences of this side effect.

Do You Want to Learn More About Narcotic Tolerance?

By calling (800) 407-7195 you can learn more about prescription (as well as illegal) narcotics and the possible effects they can cause, including tolerance. We can help you avoid any issues associated with this condition and find treatment if you are personally experiencing a high tolerance for these drugs.

the Take-Away

Once a tolerance is developed, more and more of the narcotic is needed in order to experience the effects. This issue often leads to addiction.