Opioid dependency is a central nervous system disorder that develops over time with continuous opioid use - and one that can be reversed with appropriate medical treatment.
The natural painkillers in the body, known as endorphins, stop working when a person uses opioids for an extended period of time. Eventually, the brain halts endorphin production altogether because the body is receiving them from external sources.
In individuals who are addicted, the brain receptors will gradually begin to increase. This results in an increased need for the drug. As tolerance for the drug also builds, the addict eventually needs increasing amounts to prevent the symptoms of withdrawal and to maintain feelings of euphoria. This is the root of their addiction.
Opioid dependent people often exhibit severe mood swings as well as noticeable behavior changes. The drug will present with any of the following side effects:
Immediately after taking the drugs, addicts will usually exhibit increased body temperature, euphoria, heavy limbs, and dry mouth. The user also alternates between drowsy and wakeful states and cannot participate normally.