Among the many problems that opioids can cause is sleeping disruption. What may seem like classic insomnia could be a bout of chronic sleeplessness due to prolonged opioid use. A good solution to such sleeplessness would be a Richmond Virginia opioid detox in McShin Foundation.
This guide will examine the effects of opioid use on sleep patterns.
How Opioids Impact Sleep Patterns
Opioids are drugs that are very good at relieving pain and causing muscle relaxation. Originally derived from the poppy plant, they can now be manufactured in the lab. Medically, they are known as opioid analgesics. Oxycodone and codeine are prime examples of opioid analgesics. While they’re exceptional at pain relief, opioids also have side effects. Continued use can lead to tolerance of it. Tolerance means the body has become adept at quickly processing and eliminating a substance. While this may seem like a good thing, it is a double-edged sword. Tolerance for opioids means you’ll need more of the dose you were used to just to achieve the same effect.
This is the basis for addiction.
Opioid addiction can lead to various nasty effects. One of those effects includes severely disrupted sleep patterns.
Restlessness and waking up suddenly in the night are some of the sleep issues that opioid addicts suffer from. A person goes through different sleep cycles. These include random eye movement (REM) sleep and Non-REM sleep. These cycles account for the duration that a person is asleep. Opioid abuse disrupts these cycles at critical stages.
The following are the types of sleep problems caused by opioids.
i)Insomnia: This is the classic condition that makes it hard for an individual to fall asleep. While there are numerous causes, opioid addiction is the primary one among those using the drug. In addition to experiencing difficulty falling asleep, insomniacs may feel fatigued even after several hours of continuous sleep.
ii) Parasomnia: Parasomnia refers to abnormal behaviors during sleep. For instance, sleepwalking is a common manifestation of parasomnia. Eating during sleep is also another manifestation. The victim feels as though they’re awake even when they’re asleep throughout the activity in which they engage.
iii) Daytime sleepiness: Sleep issues due to opioid addiction can result in increased sleepiness during the day. This can be dangerous for such individuals if they engage in activities like driving.
iv) Mixed problems: It’s not uncommon for someone going through opioid addiction to suffer from a combination of all the above issues. For instance, a person can experience sleepwalking with daytime sleepiness.
It’s crucial to remember that the above issues can result from opioid use even when following a prescription.
The human body contains chemicals known as neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for “messages” in the form of chemical signals from one nerve cell to another. Pain is one type of such a “message.” Opioid analgesics work by inhibiting the release of some neurotransmitters necessary for the sensation of pain.
Inhibiting neurotransmitter release is part of the chemical and biological processes that opioids alter. However, opioids can also interact with other drugs to produce more serious sleep problems. These may include:
1)Disrupted REM Patterns
REM sleep is one of the essential cycles during sleep, accounting for at least twenty percent of adults’ sleep each night. It occurs between three to five times each night. Opioid use is known to interfere with the REM cycle. Given that headaches are some of the side effects of poor sleep, opioid use can create a vicious cycle. An opioid user experiences chronic sleep disturbances, which lead to headaches. The user then takes opioids to relieve the pain. Ironically, this will increase the pattern of sleep disturbances and lead to more headaches, causing more opioid intake.
2) Disturbed Non-REM Patterns
This type of sleep has three stages. Stage one is a drowsiness-like state that involves light sleep. Stage two is when deep sleep begins. Stage three is when the deepest sleep occurs, a period during which restorative memory processes are augmented.
Opioid use mainly affects the third Non-REM stage, when the body repairs its tissues and shores up the immune system.
3) Aggravated Sleep Apnea
Erratic breathing patterns characterize this sleep disorder. A person’s breathing starts and stops during the course of sleep. While this condition has other causes, opioid use aggravates it. Sleep apnea is known to cause other health conditions like heart problems.
Ultimately, opioid use can have some undesirable consequences. Disturbed sleep patterns due to their use can lead to other health problems. An effective detox program helps to wean sufferers from such negative patterns.