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What Are The Signs Of An Opioid Addiction?

September 16th, 2022 12:00am

What Are The Signs Of An Opioid Addiction?

Opioids are a class of drugs that includes both prescription pain medications and illegal substances like heroin. When used as prescribed by a doctor, opioids are effective in treating chronic pain. However, long-term opioid use can lead to addiction. According to the CDC, “one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with opioid addiction.”

A Medical Professional will diagnose a person struggling with opioid use with an opioid use disorder People with opioid use disorder are unable to abstain from opioid use. Their behaviors become centered around opioid use, interfering with their daily life routine. Symptoms of opioid use disorder don’t appear right away, but signs will appear over time.

How Can You Tell If You Or A Loved One Has Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioid use disorder can have devastating effects on the user and their family. By recognizing the signs, you or your loved one can get the help you need sooner.

Here are some common signs of opioid use disorder:

Changes In Mood

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Euphoric mood lasting a few hours

Changes In Behavior

  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Social isolation
  • Lying about opiate dosage taken
  • Decreased performance at work or school
  • Stealing narcotics from friends and family
  • Withdrawing from once-pleasurable activities
  • Not fulfilling familial and other responsibilities
  • Preoccupation with obtaining, using, and recovering from opiate usage
  • Manipulative behavior

Physical Changes

  • Sedation
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Exhaustion
  • Constipation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Itching of the skin
  • Respiratory depression

Psychological Changes

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Mental health decline
  • Decrease in emotional well-being

Opioid use disorder can ultimately lead to coma and death.

Signs of Opioid Withdrawal

Once you’ve recognized an opioid dependence with yourself or a loved one, abruptly stopping the use of opioids can be dangerous.

Severe withdrawal symptoms include pain, body aches, sweating, chills, cramps, diarrhea, dilated pupils, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and intense cravings.

The Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 1,872 non-fatal opioid overdoses and 372 confirmed opioid-related deaths so far in 2022.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, staying well hydrated is important during this time. What’s more important is stopping this cycle. Seek medical attention for symptoms and/or treatment for the dependency at a detox or other treatment facility.

Signs of Opioid Overdose

Opioid overdose symptoms are pinpoint pupils, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, loss of color or bluish color in the skin, lips, and fingertips, delayed response, loss of consciousness, seizure, coma, and death.

If you suspect someone has suffered from an opioid overdose try to wake them up. Call their name loudly or perform a sternal rub - firmly rubbing the center of their chest with your knuckles. If the person continues to be unresponsive, call 911 immediately and follow the instructions of the 911 operator. After EMS has been notified of the emergency, Narcan can be given if available. Narcan is an opioid reversal agent that can be purchased behind the counter at most pharmacies.

Opioid use disorder should be treated with the help of a medical professional. Other medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone in combination with therapy are necessary to treat someone with a physical addiction to opioids. Further treatment is often necessary to affect behavior change. These additional measures are person-specific and should be addressed by a medical professional.

The Recovia program is here to help patients build confidence in believing they can regain function and recover. We are an evidence-based multidisciplinary intensive outpatient program that offers behavioral medicine, physical therapy, medication management, detox, nutrition, and recovery-based yoga all under one roof. Recovia is not only about addiction, substance use, and pain - it's about each patient as an individual functioning as a whole, with no labels, just a comprehensive plan to get each patient back to their best.

If you or a loved one need help with opioid use disorder, call 480-771-0378.


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