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Iisha James

RWS2 Mr. Williams
Literature review

I developed questions that I wanted to know more information about. I asked
these three questions, how do opiates work on the body and brain?
What are long-term effects of addiction to opiates? And do you have withdrawals when
you didnt have your drug, and how were they. And got the information I needed. These
websites were able to better my knowledge of opioid addiction and all the possible
consequences of it.

Addiction to opioids is becoming one of the most talked about topics across
America. While looking for information on my topic, I came across three questions that I
wanted to research and find out more about them. The three questions I came up with are:
How do opiates work on the body and brain?
What are long-term effects of addiction to opiates? And do you have withdrawals when
you didnt have your drug, and how were they?
Review of Literature section
For my first question, How do opiates work on the brain and body, I came across
information of the National Institute on Drug Abuse webpage. This article explains how
opiates work on the body and brain. For example, it states that, Opioids act by attaching
to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found on nerve cells in the brain,
spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body. When these drugs
attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain and can produce a sense of

well-being; however, they can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, and
Opioid medications can produce a sense of well-being and pleasure because these
drugs affect brain regions involved in reward. People who abuse opioids may seek to
intensify their experience by taking the drug in ways other than those prescribed. For
example, extended-release oxycodone is designed to release slowly and steadily into the
bloodstream after being taken orally in a pill; this minimizes the euphoric effects.
(Mattoo,S. 2009). They explain how the opioids give you a sense of feeling good until the
pill wears off.
I found another website with more information on the same question. On the
NIDA for Teens website, they go into more detail on how opioids work. According to the
article, Opioids look like chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on
nerve cells called opioid receptors. Scientists have found three types of opioid receptors:
mu, delta, and kappa (named after letters in the Greek alphabet). Each of these receptors
plays a different role. For example, mu receptors are responsible for opioids pleasurable
effects and their ability to relieve pain.(2016) Opioids act on many places in the brain
and nervous system, including: The limbic system, which controls emotions. Here,
opioids can create feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and contentment. The brainstem,
which controls things your body does automatically, like breathing. Here, opioids can
slow breathing, stop coughing, and reduce feelings of pain. The spinal cord, which
receives sensations from the body before sending them to the brain. Here too, opioids
decrease feelings of pain, even after serious injuries.(2016). Although both articles
talked about the same thing, they both still delivered different information. Article two

seemed to go into more information than article one.

For my next question, what are long-term effects of addiction to opiates, I found
the website Mount Regis Center: Hope Treatment Recovery. In this article the talk about
what the long-term effects of opioids can have on you and your body. Job loss,
Incarceration, Divorce, Bleeding ulcers, Domestic abuse, Child abuse, Homelessness,
Financial ruin, Liver damage, Kidney damage, Damage to major organs, Seizures,
Damage to brain structure and functioning, Damage to memory formation Overdose,
Seizures Coma, Death(2016). Everything listed above are all possible long-term effects
that could happen to you. My second article that I picked dealing with the same question
is, the Safer Lock Live safer website. They had about the same amount of information as
the Mount Regis Center: Hope Treatment Recovery website. For example, studies have
shown that opioid tolerance increases with long-term use of opioids (6 months or more of
daily dosing) with the need for dose escalation. Furthermore, opioid-induced abnormal
pain sensitivity can manifest after long-term use of opioids. Prolonged opioid use can
also have hormonal effects that result menstrual period changes as well as reduced
fertility, libido, and sex drive. Prolonged use of opioids can also result in
immunosuppression, especially in people diagnosed with HIV.(L.Weber.2015). He also
listed some possible long-term side effests of taking opioids, Abnormal pain sensitivity,
Amenorrhea or irregular menses,
Galactorrhea, excessive or inappropriate production of milk
Immunosupression, Increased risk of overdose, Reduced energy and drive, Reduced
fertility, Reduced libido, Testosterone depletion.(L.Weber, 2015). Article two delivered
more information because they went into more detail on how over time it will start to

effect your immune system and make you more venerable for other diseases or
My last question is dealing with the withdraws. According to the Delta Medical Center
some of the most common withdrawal side effects feel like a common cold but more
aggressive. For example, Physical and psychological cravings, Nausea, Stomach pain,
Cold sweat, Chills, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Agitation, Anxiety, Muscle tension, Shaking or
quivering, Trouble sleeping, Enlarged pupils, Pain in the bones(2016)
A second source that I found dealing with this question is, Addictions and The webpage explains how dealing with withdrawal from opioids is very
uncomfortable but is none life-threatening. Some symptoms they included were similar to
the ones listed in the paragraph before. Low energy, Irritability, Anxiety, Agitation,
Insomnia, Runny nose, Teary eyes, Hot and cold sweats, Goose bumps, Yawning, Muscle
aches and pains Abdominal cramping, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea.(2016) They then go
on to discuss how the withdrawals can last anywhere from a week to a month, especially
the emotional symptoms such as low energy, anxiety and insomnia, they can last a few
months after stopping high doses of opiates. Once the early stage withdrawal symptoms
are over, you will still experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms. These are less severe
but last longer. Both of these two articles deal with the same thing. They both explain
how the withdrawals feel and how they effect you.
My last resource I decided to pick is the whole reason why I deiced to pick this topic. I
deiced to pick my dad for a personal interview. I asked him a total of seven questions,
which were similar to my research question, to see how they personally effected him.
What are the long-term effects of drug addiction?

The long term affects to my body were liver damage, kidney damage, heart damage, lung
damage, and damage to your nervous system. Actually happened nerve damage, slow
heart rate, everything else I lucked out on and didnt get.
What led to the drug abuse?
Following several surgeries to both the neck and back, I was given Hydrocodone for my
pain. Although the medication did not handle the severity of the pain, my body became
addicted to the high that the Hydrocodone gave.
What made you continue to chase it?
The feeling of euphoria I received from the pills, was such an intense sensation, that I
could not just stop.
Do you have withdraws?
Yes, the withdrawals I felt were like a very sever attack of the flu virus. I felt weakness;
vomiting; diarrhea; chills; shaking; and loss of appetite when I tried to stop.
Did you use the resources available to get help?
Yes, I checked myself into UBH, here in El Paso. There at UBH, I received treatment,
care, and education about my drug addiction. I also received the knowledge and insight
as to the source of my drug addiction.
When did you realize you had an addiction?
I realized I had an addiction when I ran out of the pills the doctor prescribed, before the
refill date, and I had to go and buy them off of the street.
How do opiates work in the body?
Opiates target the endorphins in your body and trick your body into believing you dont
have any pain. The person gets accustomed to that high or euphoric feeling. I decided to

ask my dad more questions since I had enough information on my other questions.
In the figure below, it shows how people start to misuse their drug, and how they get a
hold of what they need.

With all the information I gathered, I was able to get a better understanding of my
questions and find out more information on them. With addiction to opioids becoming
more and more of the new trend, its starting to become a community problem.

References section
(2016), Opiate Abuse & Addiction Effects, Signs & Symptoms,
Mattoo, S., (2014,May 14), Americas Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription
Drug Abuse,
L. Weber., (2015), The Serious Side Effects of Long-term Opioid Use,
(2016, March 1) Opiates (Narcotics): Addiction, Withdrawal and Recovery,
(2016, March 30), How Do Opioids Work,
C. Case, (2015, October 22), Opiate Withdrawal,