Opioid addiction has become a national crisis; we are experiencing an opioid epidemic. Mental health disorders are bad and people are left untreated. Since opioids bind to the receptors in the brain to block pain and make you feel good, the individual finds that the opioid they are taking also takes away their depression and anxiety. The person starts taking the prescribed opioid for an illness or injury and then will continue taking it to “self-medicate” or treat their depression. This may continue and before they know it they have developed a dependence on the drug. Once someone has developed a dependence, addiction can easily follow. According to the National Library of Medicine:
Opioid addiction is characterized by a powerful, compulsive urge to use opioid drugs, even when they are no longer required medically. Opioids have a high potential for causing addiction in some people, even when the medications are prescribed appropriately and taken as directed. Many prescription opioids are misused or diverted to others. Individuals who become addicted may prioritize getting and using these drugs over other activities in their lives, often negatively impacting their professional and personal relationships. It is unknown why some people are more likely to become addicted than others. (NLM)
Opioid addiction has both behavioral and physical warning signs. Let’s take a look at some of the behavioral warning signs.
- “Doctor shopping” or visiting multiple doctors to try to obtain a prescription
- Sudden dramatic mood swings
- Dishonesty and secrecy
- Avoiding social situations or isolating
- Issues with work, family, or friends
- Legal problems
- Inability to meet commitments
- Changes in habits or routines
- Financial problems
- Using more medication than prescribed or running out of medication quickly
Signs That Someone is Abusing Opiates
Opioid addiction also has a lot of physical symptoms. Here are some of the warning signs to look for if you suspect your loved one may be abusing opioids.
- Sedation, drowsiness, or lack of energy
- Nodding off
- Very small pupils
- Lack of coordination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed breathing
- Itching or constant scratching
- “Track marks” or scars and bruises on the arms, hands, or other parts of the body from IV use (using needles).
Opioids are dangerous. Often prescription opioid abuse eventually leads to the individual switching to heroin. It has been found that 3 out of 4 current heroin users state that their heroin addiction started with prescription opioids. Heroin is cheaper and is more easily attained, so people start using it to prevent going through withdrawal.
What to Expect from Opioid Withdrawal
Once a person has become addicted to opioids, they have to have the drug in their bloodstream or they will immediately experience withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms that come with opioid addiction are so debilitating, that often an individual that has become addicted will continue to use out of fear. Most are terrified of what they will experience if they don’t have the drug, so they will go to any lengths to get it. Some of the common symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tremors and shaking
- Insomnia, restlessness, or sleeplessness
- Runny nose and excessive tearing
- Fatigue, lack of energy, and yawning
- Anxiety and irritability
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle, bone, and joint pain
- Leg cramps
Opioid addiction is a long-lasting and chronic disease. Long-term opioid addiction can lead to several health issues both physical and psychological. The body’s vital organs can be damaged and individuals may also have trouble concentrating, and experience anxiety, and depression. Recovery is possible and these days there are a lot of different options and treatments for opioid addiction. The sooner a person gets help once they are aware of their addiction and can admit it, the better off they will be.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction issue, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness MA offers evidence-based treatment programs. Our solution-focused addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Give us a call today.