Opiates are powerful drugs that impact the user’s physical and psychological state. Additionally, these drugs are highly addictive and can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Even though opiates are painkillers that induce drowsiness, they do not necessarily induce restful sleep. In fact, opiate abuse can lead to insomnia and disturbed sleep.

Your physical, mental, and emotional health depends on not only getting the right amount of sleep but also the right quality of sleep.

Opiate abuse can lead to the following problems:
  • Poor concentration
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Vivid and often disturbing dreams and nightmares
  • Emotional instability

If you or a loved one struggle with these problems, opiate abuse may be an issue. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help as these health problems may lead to a risk of illness or injury. Our caring professionals at Black Bear Lodge are ready to help.

How Opiates Affect Sleep

Sleepy man at computerOpiates change the way the brain perceives pain.1 This form of drug blocks the opiate receptors and causes the brain to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and a sense of well-being. Essentially, opiates mimic the effects of chemicals found naturally in the body.2

With such a direct effect on brain chemistry, opiates can easily affect every area of an addicted individual’s life, from sleep cycle and digestion to relationships and employment.

Because opiates are depressants, users inevitably experience fatigue while using the drug. Fatigue often creates disorientation, dizziness and random moments of hyperactivity or excitability. Equally devastating is how opiates affect the deepest phase of sleep, rapid eye movement sleep. During this phase, the body is at its least active and the mind at its most active. Unfortunately, it takes time for the opiates to release their grip on the mind and body.

Signs of Opiate Withdrawal

Whenever an individual discontinues opiate use, he may go into opiate withdrawal. Detox includes many unpleasant symptoms that continue throughout the day, prompting many people to keep using to ward off these symptoms.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms include the following problems:
  • Restless legs
  • Racing mind
  • Cold sweats
  • Anxiety
  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea3

Not only do these withdrawal symptoms disturb sleep and prevent quality rest, but they are also dangerous. Individuals should not detox from opiates without medical supervision at a rehab center. Many patients are given medication such as buprenorphine or suboxone to treat withdrawal symptoms. When these drugs are given to individuals under the supervision of medical professionals, patients often experience a smoother transition as they stop drug use.

Help for Opiate Addiction

If you struggle with an opiate problem, please know you are not alone, and help is available. Our helpful staff at Black Bear Lodge are ready to help. Located in the serene forest foothills of northern Georgia, Black Bear Lodge is a place of solace and healing for individuals struggling with substance abuse issues.

We offer a range of holistic therapies and use proven treatment methods to help you live a life without drug abuse. Call 706-914-2327. We can help.


1Opioid Addiction.” National Institutes of Health, Accessed May 13, 2018.

2 Cherry, Kendra. “What Are Opiates?” Very Well Mind, AccessedMay 13,2018.

3Withdrawing From Opiates and Opioids.” Heathline, Accessed May 13, 2018.

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at Black Bear Lodge. For more specific information on programs at Black Bear Lodge, contact us today.