This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
As in the case of inebriety, opium-taking is at first merely a habit, but finally develops into a formidable disease. The morbid condition established by the long-continued use of opium is, if possible, even more serious than chronic alcoholism. This disease has been very appropriately termed opiism, or opiomania. The habit is in duced in the majority of cases by the use of opium for the purpose of relieving pain or inducing sleep. For a number of years past, we have had, almost constantly, patients under treatment for the relief of this habit, and in tracing the history of these cases we have, in every instance, found that the habit had originated with a physician's prescription. This fact, together with many others to which attention has been called in the section on stimulants and narcotics, has convinced us that physicians generally are culpably reckless in the use of this powerful, fascinating drug. Opium is certainly a boon in cases in which it is absolutely required; but its use should be restricted as much as possible, and not resorted to when relief can be obtained by any other means. The suffering which patients generally undergo in their attempts to escape from the thralldom of this habit, are greater, in the majority of cases, than those for the relief of which the drug was originally taken. As a general rule, when the opium-taker begins to lessen the dose which has been gradually increased for a longer or shorter period, a great variety of morbid symptoms make their appearance. In many cases, obstinate vomiting or equally persistent diarrhea set in as soon as the daily dose is reduced. In other cases, the patient will be seized with violent sneezing. In still others, pains in the joints, or old neuralgic pains, to relieve which the opium was originally taken, render the patient almost distracted with suffering. But that of which these unfortunates complain most bitterly is a peculiar indefinable sensation, which is described by the patient as much harder to bear than actual pain.