Opioid addiction is a serious and growing problem in the United States and other countries. It’s estimated that more than 2 million people suffer from opioid use disorder, with an additional 500,000 people addicted to heroin alone. Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive and can lead to devastating consequences if not treated promptly and properly. Understanding the signs of opioid addiction can help you identify when someone close to you may struggle with dependency or addiction.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs derived from opium poppy plants commonly used as painkillers or sedatives due to their ability to reduce pain signals sent by nerves in the brain. They include medications like codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin), morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and fentanyl. In addition to prescription opioids, there are also street versions available, as well as heroin.
Medical vs. Street Opioids
The primary difference between medical-grade opioids prescribed for pain relief purposes versus street-grade opioids sold illegally is dosage strength. Medical-grade doses tend to be much lower than those sold on the streets, which makes it easier for users to become addicted quickly if they take too much at once or use them frequently.
This means it’s essential for anyone using prescription medication containing opioids to follow their doctor’s instructions closely so they don’t develop an addiction without realizing it until it’s too late.
Signs of Opioid Use
Common signs of opioid use include constricted pupils, slowed breathing rate/shallow breaths, euphoria or feelings of relaxation/calmness after taking them, drowsiness during normal waking hours, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and lack of focus. Noticing any sudden changes in behavior like these accompanied by opioid pills being taken without medical supervision often means it is likely someone might have developed an unhealthy relationship with these powerful drugs.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
In addition to physical symptoms observed already mentioned while using opioids, there are certain behaviors associated with dependence, including obsessively seeking out more pills, increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and irritability, excessive spending on opioids, missing work or school, lying to friends family about drug use, and engaging in risky behaviors like unprotected sex with multiple partners.
Behavioral Signs of Opioid Addiction:
- Obsessively seeking out more pills
- Increased tolerance
- Lying to friends and family
- Risky behavior
Physical Signs of Opioid Addiction:
- Constricted pupils
- Slowed breathing rate or shallow breaths
- Nausea and vomiting
Mental Signs of Opioid Addiction:
- Feelings of relaxation and calmness
- Lack of focus
Emotional Signs of Opioid Addiction:
- Feelings of hopelessness
Impact of Opioid Use on Relationships
Opioid use can have a devastating impact on relationships and the individuals involved. The effects of opioid addiction can lead to isolation, dishonesty, and a lack of trust in those closest to them, for instance. It can also cause tension between family members as they grapple with how best to help their loved one overcome their addiction. As the problem persists, it may create an environment where communication is strained, and relationships suffer due to dealing with someone’s opioid use disorder.
Impact of Opioid Use on Family Life
Opioid use can have a significant impact on family life. It can lead to increased stress and tension among family members as they try to cope with the effects of addiction as well as how best to help their loved one. The financial strain of supporting someone’s opioid use disorder can also add additional stress and strain on relationships. Additionally, it may cause children in the home to feel neglected or ignored because their parents focus more on helping the addict than spending quality time with them.
Impact of Opioid Use on Work and School Life
Opioid use can have a negative impact on work and school life as well. For example, opioid addiction can lead to absenteeism, lack of focus, decreased productivity, and even the potential for discipline or legal action if opioids are used at work or school. Thus, it’s important to remember that opioid addiction isn’t something that can be managed on one’s own. Professional help is necessary to overcome this type of substance use disorder successfully.
Opioid Withdrawal Detox Timeline Symptoms
The timeline for opioid withdrawal detox can vary depending on the individual and the type of drug they’ve been using. Generally, it takes anywhere from one to two weeks to experience the full effects of withdrawal.
Stage 1: 0-12 Hours
- Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness
- Abdominal cramping and diarrhea
- Muscle aches and pains
Stage 2: 12-24 Hours
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased sweating
Stage 3: 24-72 Hours
- Intense cravings for opioids
Stage 4: 72+ Hours
- Rapid mood swings
- Hallucinations and delusions
How Medical Detox Treatment Helps
Medical detox treatment is a critical first step in the recovery process for those struggling with opioid addiction. Furthermore, through this type of treatment, individuals can receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT helps to alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with withdrawal and also reduces cravings for opioids. This allows them to focus on other aspects of their recovery, such as counseling and support groups.
Additionally, medical detox treatment can help individuals build a strong foundation for long-term success by providing them with resources and information about maintaining sobriety in the future.
Opioid addiction is a serious issue with devastating consequences if not treated appropriately and promptly. Understanding the signs of opioid use and addiction is key to identifying when someone close may struggle with an unhealthy relationship with opioids. Understanding these signs makes it easier for friends or family members who suspect their loved one has an addiction problem to get them help before it’s too late.
Client-Centered Opioid Addiction Treatment in Orange County, CA
At Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, California, we offer client-center opioid addiction treatment programs at our IMS and JCAHO-accredited addiction treatment center personalized to the individual’s needs. Contact us today to start your treatment.