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Friday, February 17, 2017

5 Scary Effects of Opioid Addiction

The growing opioid epidemic is downright scary. Fatal drug overdoses more than tripled to 52,404 between 1999 and 2015, and the majority of them involved an opioid. What’s more, in 2015, more than 1.1 million young adults, ages 12 to 25, reported misusing prescription pain relievers and 238,000 had used heroin in the past year.

Even if you don’t OD, these drugs have devastating neurological and physical consequences, especially on young adults. A recent article in Teen Vogue, “This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You’re Addicted to Opioids” pinpointed some of these effects.

Here’s a brief summary:  
  • It can cause anoxic brain injury. “When you aren’t getting adequate oxygen, your brain cells die, which can severely interfere with who you are and what you are able to do,” David Wilkinson, M.D., former medical director at the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, tells Teen Vogue. This can be as extreme as being in a vegetative state for the rest of your life to more subtle consequences, including speech, vision, or hearing difficulties, impaired cognition and motor skills, and poor emotional regulation. 
  • It can hijack your brain and hinder your excitement for life. "You start doing poorly in school, lose your job, eat poorly, can’t maintain relationships, accrue a criminal record, miss out on milestones…the list goes on and on," David Wilkinson, MD, former medical director at the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat Springs, CO, told Teen Vogue.
  • It can provoke mental disorders like depression, anxiety or psychosis. “You may have a susceptibility to a psychological illness that only manifests upon exposure to certain triggers, such as a drug,” John F. Kelly, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School and founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute, told Teen Vogue. 
  • It stunts your emotional maturity. When you’re using drugs to self-medicate, “you don’t have a chance to build the skills you need to tolerate stress in your daily life,” Dr. Kelly says. He adds: If someone starts using drugs at age 15 and has been addicted for 10 years he would still have the E.Q. (emotional quotient) of a 15-year-old — despite being 25. 
  • It increases your risk of infectious diseases. "Sharing needles, which may not be clean, can transmit infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV," Kelly says.
Getting Help for Opioid Abuse
For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call today: 866-930-4673.

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