A large number of people begin their relationships with opiates innocently enough. Unfortunately, taking narcotic medications for an injury or chronic pain condition leaves thousands of people with a severe dependency. For many, an addiction to opiate painkillers transitions to an addiction to heroin. As if battling an addiction isn’t bad enough, opiates can also wreak havoc on many other areas of life. And one of those areas just so happens to be in the bedroom.
A Non-Existent Sex Life
Prescription pain medication has seemingly taken up a permanent residence in the media. Whether it’s preventable overdose deaths, violent crimes, or the latest reclassification of hydrocodone, hardly a day goes by without a report of negative effects linked to these opiates. However, sexual dysfunction is one of the lesser talked about effects of narcotic painkillers.
Opiates can – and often do – interfere with an addict’s libido or ability to function properly. A detailed report in Time Magazine revealed how painkillers like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Methadone can derail the sex lives of both men and women. Among men, the medications can lower both the production and existing levels of testosterone. As for women, these opiates can essentially kill the natural libido.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism set out to study how opiates affect the body’s systems as a whole. In the end, they were surprised to find that, out of 73 men and women receiving spinal infusions of an opiate pain medication, 95 percent of the men and 68 percent of the women experienced a serious drop in sex drive.
Greater Risks of Heroin
Heroin is already using the brain systems that require activation during an orgasm, essentially interfering and preventing the delivery of further brain signals.Heroin, another drug in the opiate family, seems to have the most intense effect on libido. According to an article published in the journal Addictive Disorders and Their Treatment, about two-thirds of women and 19 out of 20 men who take heroin regularly find that they have greatly reduced interest in sex.
When researchers delved into this issue, they came to the conclusion that heroin causes an increase in the hormone prolactin. With high levels of this hormone, there is a naturally decreased interest in sex. Heroin is already using the brain systems that require activation during an orgasm, essentially interfering and preventing the delivery of further brain signals. In fact, people who abuse heroin for extended amounts of time will likely find it impossible to orgasm at all.
Is This Permanent?
Luckily, the adverse sexual effects of opiates are not permanent. Once an addict enters rehab and begins to work on his or her recovery process, the sex drive gradually begins to return. Only with long-term sobriety can a recovering addict enjoy a happy and healthy sex life.
Learn more about finding treatment options for an opiate addiction.