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Opioids opiate induced brain damage a moderating perspective

Bucklecroft Rudy

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I for one very nearly had a grand mal panic attack after hearing that opiates caused brain damage. Ive been scouring google dilligently searching for something to contradict that or at least some stray ray of hope. Had I known that it was even a remote possibility I would have kicked opiates looong ago. As it is ive been a DHC addict for 4-5 years pod addict for 1 year and am currently on bupe which I plan to curb stomp next summer. Here are those stray rays:

Brain cells regenerate:It was thought that brain cells were finite and unregenerate. However scientists have found that brain cells do divide and regenerate even in areas associated with learning and memory (areas thought to be most affected). Curcumin (when modified to cross the bbb) Omega 3 oils and anything which increases brain blood flow will help accelerate this.

Cognitive functioning was examined in people with a current or past history of opiate abuse using a range of neuropsychological tests. Sixty percent of those currently abusing opiates showed impairments of at least two standard deviations from the published norms on two or more neuropsychological tests, a significantly higher incidence than found in matched controls with no history of drug abuse. The drug free group of recovering addicts fell between the other groups without significant differences. It was concluded that the risk of neuropsychological impairment is greater in opiate abusers, and that recovery may occur during abstinence.

Its by no means wholesale and there clearly werent any controls for poly substance abuse lifestyle or comorbidity.

Neuropathological studies were carried out on 180 human immunodeficiency virus-seronegative intravenous drug addicts. The findings in victims of acute heroin intoxication (n = 116) were congestion (99.1%), capillary engorgement (68.1%), and/or perivascular bleeding (68.1%) – hemodynamic processes attributable to toxic primary respiratory failure. In a high percentage of these cases (88%), cerebral edema was also present. In 18 cases of acute heroin intoxication who survived for periods of hours or days, the sole postmortem finding was ischemic nerve cell damage, resembling that typically seen in systemic hypoxia. Semiquantitative analysis revealed nerve cell loss in the hippocampal formation and/ or Purkinje cell layer in 26% of the 162 chronic drug abusers. By contrast, in nearly 80% of these cases, the hippocampus showed enhanced expression of glial fibrillary acid protein by astrocytes and/or a proliferation of microglia, demonstrated by CD68 expression. Since such reactive processes are produced by primary neuronal damage, it can be assumed that chronic intravenous drug abuse results in obviously ischemic nerve cell loss. This could be demonstrated in the hippocampus, but it must also occur throughout the whole brain. The demonstration of ischemic nerve cell damage and neuronal loss or secondary reactive alterations has not been described previously.


Only around 20-30% of users had any measurable cognitive deficits which may have been a consequence of age,strokes,brain injury and hundreds of other factors. Those figures dont indicate massive irreverisble damage


Overall the brain damage caused by opiates can be serious but is reversible and by no means as serious as that caused by alcohol cocaine et al.
 

AlphaMethylPhenyl

Moderator: MH
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Dude. I bet if you look at any long-term drug user's brain you will find damage. There is simply no way chronic use of something that crosses the BBB does not mess up the delicate balance in one's brain. Of course it may solve some problems, but unless a drug is specifically tailored to personal nuerochemistry, it will damage your brain if used long enough; they are crude agents of correction. I also believe that almost all of this damage is reversible, having witnessed the extensive drug use of myself as well as others.

Seriously drugs that occur in plants, especially ones that are native in a widespread area, are through the logic of natural selection least likely to cause significant damage to one's brain, though purifying them is one step closer to creating a new chemical altogether. Since opiates are so addictive, it makes sense that our ancestors used them quite a bit; I wouldn't be too worried.
 

Bucklecroft Rudy

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Dude. I bet if you look at any long-term drug user's brain you will find damage. There is simply no way chronic use of something that crosses the BBB does not mess up the delicate balance in one's brain. Of course it may solve some problems, but unless a drug is specifically tailored to personal nuerochemistry, it will damage your brain if used long enough; they are crude agents of correction. I also believe that almost all of this damage is reversible, having witnessed the extensive drug use of myself as well as others.

Seriously drugs that occur in plants, especially ones that are native in a widespread area, are through the logic of natural selection least likely to cause significant damage to one's brain, though purifying them is one step closer to creating a new chemical altogether. Since opiates are so addictive, it makes sense that our ancestors used them quite a bit; I wouldn't be too worried.

Its the respiratory depression/sleep apnea caused by opiates thats the culprit. Ive had quite a few dihydrocodeine overdoses so im quite concerned about damage elicited by hypoxia. I reckon that its probably more prevalent than most opiate users know. Of course neuro-regeneration means that months to years after withdrawing completely most damage will reverse naturally. However during opiate use particularly of the heavier opioids i'd imagine that cognitive deficits would be noticeable.
These things are virtually impossible to measure subjectively since its a gradual decline. Its not too difficult to minimse the risks associatred with hypoxia. Currently ive disocvered the following:
Ginkgo Biloba
Cocount Oil
Omega 3+6
Coenzyme Q-10
Exercise
Vinpocetine

Apparently caffeine can decrease blood flow to the brain by around 30% (need a source) so the few studies that refer to this may be naught but anti drug canvassing
 

ErgicMergic

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I would venture to guess that any drug that releases a lot of dopamine causes neurotoxicity by destroying the dopamine receptors through dopamine autoxidation.

Mixing opiates and amphetamines is probably the worst offender, add 5-HT release with methamphetamine, and you have some seriously compounded neurotoxicity.

Just to clarify, if N amount of opiates were neurotoxic to your brain, having a cigarrete on top might make it worse by releasing even more dopamine. The brain wants a stable state; if you are too happy or stimulated through DA levels that are too high, the brain destroys its own DA receptors, perhaps to prevent overheating?
 

ErgicMergic

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^How can opiates not be neurotoxic and yet work so heavily on dopamine? Is it because they release that DA indirectly through a strange mechanism, compared to amphetamine that releases it directly and messes with the VMAT2 and the DAT?
 

Bucklecroft Rudy

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I thought this might be the case. Turns out that the body does of course compensate providing up to double the oxygenation to cerebral tissue. Hypoxic effedcts proceed if this doesnt restore balance.

Butterworth, Roger F. (1999). "Hypoxic Encephalopathy". In: Siegel, George J. et al. (eds.) Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects, 6th edition, Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-397-51820-X. Freely available at NCBI Bookshelf. Retrieved on 2007-04-13.

If blood flow falls by 30-40% during the average nod then doubling brain flow would provide the necessary oxygenation. Of course that cant be good for your lower internal organs. The question remains through what mechanism opiates cause brain damage if this is in fact true. I struggle to believe that scientists didnt take this into account.

Only explanation would be the fact that most opiate addicts are poly drug users. Not only that but the addict's lifestyle isn't conducive to optimum brain functionoing. Something as simple as dehydration can affect grey matter.
 
Last edited:

sekio

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Normally, dopamine release isn't notably neurotoxic. I think that's the problem here. Case in point: opioids aren't considered to be neurotoxic, nor are drugs like methylphenidate.

Dopamine release from methamphetamine, mdma, (releasing agents) etc is a different question. Those drugs elevate monoamine levels far above normal, by bypassing your body's normal systems to keep release in check.

If you are a responsible opioid user, and don't use them to the point of passing out from lack of oxygen, you'll be fine.
 

CrackerSmacker

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I always thought opiates were basically the only drugs that DIDN'T harm your body long-term. Aside from the obvious risks of addiction, overdose, etc.
 

Coraline

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I use opiates daily for 2 1/2 years. I smoked pot daily 6 years like cigs. I am a chronic snorer since childhood. I have had brain scans in the past and reciently no loss of grey matter noted on any MRI's or ct scans.

I have searched the web for chronic use of opiates and found no real harm to the body.

No body damage except for using a injured body part under opiate use creating more damage. Oh and constipation and hyperalgia but even those are temporary and manageable.
 
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