Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in your brain, which are responsible for controlling several natural functions within your body, including releasing endorphins, a natural chemical that helps relieve pain and increase pleasure. When binding to opioid receptors, opioids rapidly reduce feelings of pain and cause intense euphoria.
Why Are Opioids Addictive?
The euphoric feelings opioids cause lead to addiction and potentially opioid use disorder.
As the drug wears off and euphoric feelings fade, the person may feel depressed, anxious or tired, which can result in taking more of the drug to regain the feelings of pleasure. Over time, the body requires higher doses to create the same feelings. This dangerous cycle of substance abuse not only results in addiction but also presents a high risk of overdose.