What Are the Signs of Opioid Addiction?

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In the United States, opioid addiction is a serious issue facing many families. Some of these opioids are not commonly associated with "street drugs." Instead, doctors are the ones who often prescribe them. These drugs are known to produce a sense of euphoria. For that reason, many people do misuse them. If your loved one is abusing opioids, here are some telltale signs of substance use.

A Serious Crisis

There is a severe opioid crisis, and it is estimated that more than 115 people die from an overdose every day. When a person becomes addicted to opioids, they have a higher risk of an overdose. An opioid addiction is classified as compulsive use of these drugs. When an individual becomes addicted, it can become difficult to stop using these substances, and that drug usage can lead to significant consequences.

If someone you love is battling an opioid addiction, you need to schedule a consultation with the professional treatment team at Interpersonal Psychiatry!

There are several drugs in the opiate category, including:

  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • Morphine
  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone

In order to overcome an addiction, the individual needs to seek help. Some of these signs aren't always apparent to friends or family. Not every person experiences addiction in the same way, and it can be hard to spot signs of trouble.

Opioid Addiction

With the regular use of opioids, a person can become addicted, even if a physician prescribed those drugs. In many cases, the drugs were misused, leading to an overdose or even death. Many people falsely believe that because a doctor prescribed the medication, it is safe to use. However, all medicines come with strict instructions. If you don't follow those instructions, it will lead to trouble.

Some of these drugs are known as "street drugs," while medical professionals prescribe those other types of substances. No matter the way that the person obtained the drugs, they can still be dangerous if abused. You should never think that there are "safe drugs" out there. All drugs can become dangerous if they are abused.

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The Classic Signs of Opioid Addiction

While some signs may be hard to identify, there are plenty of classic symptoms of addiction. If you notice any of these signs in your loved one, it may be time to seek help for their drug abuse issues.

Feeling Defensive

When someone abuses drugs, they may start to feel or act defensive. What does that mean? When you confront them about their addiction, they often will defend their behavior with phrases such as "I can stop at any time" or "I'm just hurting myself." Many addicted individuals will also try to change the subject when it involves drug addiction. They often don't want to face the realities of their behavior.

Blaming Others

In many cases, the addict will blame others for their behavior. They also might blame certain situations for continued drug use. Many addicted individuals will not take responsibility for their behavior. However, they must understand that they need to take charge of their behaviors and addictions. If you are able to get this person into a treatment program, they can address some of these destructive thoughts that lead to addiction.

Isolating from Friends and Family

Isolation can be very dangerous for anyone who is abusing drugs. In some situations, they will believe that no one loves them or understands their problems. Along with that, some individuals might think that society does not want them, which will justify their addictions. This mindset can lead to a cycle of addiction with continuous drug use. The more isolated the person, the worse the habit will become for them.

Feelings of Guilt and Shame

Since the addicted individual cannot stop their drug usage, they will start to feel shame and guilt. In fact, many people are no longer in control of their physical actions, instead driven by the desire to get more drugs. In this case, a friend or family member will have to intervene on their behalf. You might think that opioid addictions are always physical, but there are many emotional symptoms.

Skipping Work and School Activities

Many people will hide their addiction. In some instances, the individual will dedicate their waking hours to achieving that high. With adults, they may miss work or other commitments. School-age children will start to show a decline in their work. Some people often become estranged from family and friends.

Secretive Behavior

For the first few months, an addicted person will be secretive about their activities. They might leave in the middle of the night or miss a scheduled appointment with friends and family. However, over time, you will start to spot this secretive behavior that is tied to drug usage.

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Along with these classic signs of addiction, there are some physical signs to watch, such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Euphoria and elation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Mood swings

After a person starts to withdraw from an opioid, they can also experience similar symptoms to the flu, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Some long-term symptoms of opioid usage include the following:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Depression
  • Gastric problems

Over time, a person who takes opioids will build up a tolerance, which can create an issue when they stop their use. When a person wants to quit using opioids, they will experience some of these withdrawal symptoms. If those symptoms are too intense, they may return to their drug usage.

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If you spot any of these signs in a loved one, you need to seek help for their opioid addiction. With treatment and therapy, they can start the journey on the path to recovery.

When your loved one is experiencing addiction issues with opioids or another type of substance, make sure to reach out to the team at Interpersonal Psychiatry.