Addiction to Opium and Its Consequences

Opium Addiction and Effects

Opium, like any other drug, has a high potential for addiction. Opium is extracted from the opium poppy plant. Opium contains 10 to 11 percent of alkaloids used to produce heroin for illicit drug trade or medical purposes. However, due to the high number of addicted opium users, most people now use opium for the illegal drug trade. Opium has both positive and negative effects on users, according to many users. The results of opium, according to Thomas Quincey's book "Confessions of an Opium User," are discussed in this paper.

Opium as a Pain Reliever

Opium, according to Thomas Quincey, is an effective pain reliever. It helped him get rid of the different physical ailments he was experiencing. Thomas writes, 'from the depression of spirits; it attacked me with violence that only needed opium as a solution’ (Quincey 5). These claims are valid because opium is always used on patients who have undergone surgery because it acts as a pain reliever.

Intense Pleasure and Motivation

Quincey also describes that opium gives a user intense pleasure and motivation. He explains how good he felt when he attended opera after using opium. The drug enables people to be their true selves because it removes the pain they encounter in their daily problems. He explains how some cotton workers used opium to inspire them to work happily despite the low wages that they received. Furthermore, opium provides mystical experiences to a user who will also dream about what he loves. Quincey writes, ‘if a man whose talk is oxen becomes an opium eater, he will dream about bulls (Quincey 4).’ These claims about opium are valid because many users are addicted to the drug because it makes a person feel relaxed because it eliminates anxiety.

Ethical Issues and Lack of Motivation

Quincey also trusts that opium makes people be morally upright. He states that people believe that opium users are immoral because they are mostly thieves and prostitutes. This point is not right because opium makes people adopt unethical behavior both in the short and long term because when the addicted person lacks the money to buy opium, he or she might get involved in immoral actions such as prostitution and theft so that he can get the money for purchasing the drug.

In the long-term, opium leads to lack of motivation because it makes users feel fatigued. Quincey writes, ‘I had an introduction to write and a devotion, to Mr. Ricardo. I found myself unable to achieve this (Quincey 51).' Too much use of opium made Quincey slothful that he could not write a preface for his book. Opium also prevents a person from having the ability to manage his life. Quincey had to depend on other people to pay his bills. Opium also leads to lack of concentration in the long-term: an individual might fail to perform duties such as writing or reading that require high levels of focus. In the book, Quincey reveals how he was not able to read his book due to poor concentration. Many opium users have agreed that the drug eliminates awareness and coordination hence making it hard to work on anything that requires high levels of focus. Apart from the lack of attention, opium also limits an individual’s analytic skills. Quincey decides to concentrate on political science because he loses the analytical skills that mathematics and philosophy require.

Anxiety, Hallucinations, and Depression

Furthermore, long-term use of opium results in intense anxiety: Quincy dreamed about lakes, and he worried that his brain contracted dropsy. Opium also leads to hallucinations and nightmares. Quincey writes about his hallucinations: narrates how he saw a person that always visited him at night. Quincey experienced terrifying dreams in a place which he thought was Asia. He also dreamt about dead people: Quincey describes the dream about the child on the grave (Quincey 77). Sometimes he saw strange women in his dreams: he believed that these women were goddesses.

Furthermore, opium leads to depression as it makes users prefer being alone. Loneliness encourages depression because it makes one feel empty, isolated and it also makes an individual overthink. Quincey explains how opium made him want to be alone all the time. He always spent his evenings alone, and he confessed that this solitude made him depressed. Besides this, opium also causes a lack of appetite because it contracts digestive organs. Quincey explains that he lost the urge to eat even when a meal was available. Nausea and frequent vomiting associated with opium are also responsible for making an individual lose appetite.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Lastly, trying to stop using opium after long-term abuse is torturous as Quincey describes. An attempt to withdraw from opium addiction leads to several medical conditions. An addict can experience intense cold and flu. Furthermore, an individual can experience severe stomach pains that lead to sleepless and painful nights. Eating might also be painful because the jaw and the lips swell. Lastly, a person experiences too many thoughts that he might fail to handle them. Quincey explains that he had so many ideas that he believed that opium had frozen them during his addiction years (Quincey 65).


In conclusion, despite the fact that users claim that opium releases pain and stress, opium is still a dangerous drug. A user only experiences the feeling of relaxation during his first years of using opium. This feeling is what makes people addicted to the drug. However, after a long term of opium abuse, the drug causes depression and other dangerous side effects. Therefore, opium just like Cocaine is a dangerous drug, and it should be avoided at all costs.

Works Cited

Quincey, Thomas. Confessions of an English opium-eater. London: Penguin Classics, 2003. Print

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