[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”oGqOMEVdHus” width=”640″ height=”480″ auto_thumb=”1″] Opiates’ effects are caused by activating receptors located throughout the brain and spinal cord. The two important effects of opiates are pain relief and enhanced mood. Once an opiate medication reaches these receptors, it activates the opiate receptors and produces an effect of relieving pain. It also causes mood enhancement in the form of stress reduction and euphoria, for some. The brain produces many natural endorphins that activate opiate receptors and relieve pain. As discussed in Chapter Three, these chemicals have been linked to many functions of the brain including pain relief, GI activities, respiration, mood, and hormonal regulation.
Why People Take Opiates
When you take an opiate, it encourages your brain to release greater amounts of dopamine, which causes a brief, intense sense of well-being, followed by a relaxed state. Opiates help ease pain by interfering with the pain messages traveling to your brain. Pleasure and relief from pain are closely connected in your brain.