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Short and Long Term Effects of Painkillers

Written By Legacy Healing Center - Aug 4 2020

Short and Long Term Effects of Painkillers

Table of Contents

Painkillers Can Affect the Mind and Body in Multiple Ways

Opioids are the most common prescription painkillers that are regularly used and abused, resulting in more than 20 million Americans developing a substance use disorder. Opioids are in a drug class that includes prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, and other drugs, in addition to illegal street opiates, like heroin. In the short term, painkillers can affect your body and mind in different ways. The long term effects of painkillers, however, can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

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Short Term Effects of Painkillers

Opioid painkillers have short-term effects that are commonly experienced by most people who are taking them either recreationally or to reduce pain or treat other symptoms. For instance, your physician may have prescribed a painkiller like hydrocodone to relieve your pain after an operation or due to chronic back pain.

If you or a loved one are taking certain opioids as those listed above, you should be aware of the possible short-term effects associated with their use.

Oxycodone

This prescription pain reliever is an opioid that’s used to treat moderate to severe pain. It changes the way your brain responds to pain. Oxycodone is the active ingredient in the brand-name drugs OxyContin and Percocet. This drug produces mild euphoria, relaxation, and it decreases anxiety. Its undesirable short-term effects include:

  • Mood changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is sold under certain brand names, such as Vicodin. They are a mixture of the opioid hydrocodone and acetaminophen or another analgesic medication. Over the short-term, its effects can include:

  • Sleepiness or lethargy
  • Feelings of well-being
  • Numbness
  • Lessened anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Itchiness
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Shallow breathing

Morphine

This strong painkiller might be used to treat severe pain or used recreationally to produce a “high” – and is extremely addictive. Some of the short-term effects of morphine are:

  • Euphoric feelings
  • Intense relaxation
  • Decreased feelings of pain
  • Depressed breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Urinary retention
  • Constipation
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Agitation
  • Seizures

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is an opioid analgesic that’s sometimes used to treat serious pain, but it can be up to 500 times stronger than morphine, making it have a huge potential for abuse. Its short term effects are:

  • Lessened feelings of pain
  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Seizures

Heroin

Heroin is an illegal drug that enters the brain and is then converted to morphine. It then binds to opioid receptors and results in the following short-term effects:

  • A surge of pleasurable feelings called a “rush”
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Shallow breathing

Long Term Effects of Painkillers

Opioid painkillers are powerful drugs that can have dangerous long term effects aside from managing pain. The long term effects of painkillers can increase your risk for developing a serious physical and psychological addiction to these drugs. Additionally, taking these substances over a long period of time increases your risk for physical ailments, such as liver damage.

Oxycodone

Oxycodone use can have serious long-term effects that include:

  • Opioid-induced constipation
  • Physical dependence and addiction
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Coma

Hydrocodone

The long term effects of painkillers like hydrocodone include:

  • Developing a tolerance for the drug dosage
  • Addiction
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Coma
  • Liver damage
  • Social and job-related difficulties

Morphine

Taking morphine over a long period of time results in physical dependency and addiction. If substance use is withheld or reduced, withdrawal symptoms can occur, including:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills with goosebumps

Fentanyl

The long term effects of painkillers like fentanyl can cause:

  • Poor judgment in job-related and family or social situations
  • Organ damage due to decreased oxygen in body tissues
  • Addiction
  • Risk of overdose, and therefore, death
  • Worsen or initiate mental health conditions, such as depression or mood disorders

Heroin

Heroin is a very addictive drug that can cause the following long-term effects:

  • Neuronal and hormonal imbalances
  • Deterioration of the brain’s white matter, affecting decision-making abilities
  • An inability to regulate behavior
  • Increased feelings of stress
  • Enormous degrees of tolerance and physical addiction
  • shortWithdrawal symptoms occur quickly when drug is stopped or reduced

Withdrawing from an opioid dependency can cause symptoms that are often painful and sometimes medically dangerous. This is why it’s so important to seek professional help from a drug treatment center, such as Legacy Healing Center, for opioid detox and rehab. Our opioid detox program provides you or your loved one with immediate medical intervention when necessary while ridding the body of the toxins of substances.

The opioid and heroin addiction treatment and rehab specialists at Legacy Healing Center in South Florida are compassionate and dedicated to holistic healing approach to substance use disorders. If you or a loved one are ready to begin your path to healing, please call us today at 888-534-2295 to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Calls are completely confidential and we can answer any questions you many have about treatment. Click here to learn more about our treatment programs.

Sources

American Society of Addiction Medicine

Medical News Today

National Institute on Drug Abuse

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