Figuring out if you or a loved one are addicted to opioids can be challenging, especially if the opioids are prescribed to you by a doctor for an injury or illness. However, the earlier you find out about an addiction and get treatment for it, the easier it is to recover and the fewer long-term effects you will face.
Opioid abuse and addiction are widespread across America. In 2021, an estimated 5 million people had a prescription opioid use disorder and about 1 million had a heroin use disorder.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction can help you identify addiction in yourself or a loved one and find treatment. While everyone’s experience with addiction is unique, seven common signs of opioid addiction are:
1. You Get Sick if You Stop Taking Opioids
A tell-tale sign of opioid addiction is physical dependence. Physical dependence occurs after prolonged opioid abuse as the body gets used to having opioids in the system. If you suddenly stop taking opioids after developing physical dependence, you will experience flu-like withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe.
Common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
- Body aches
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
If you experience symptoms of withdrawal or feel sick after lowering your dose or trying to stop taking opioids, you need to seek help from a professional opioid detox and rehab center.
2. You Need to take Higher Doses Than You Previously Did To Get High
Drug tolerance forms when your body becomes less sensitive to the effects of a drug. For example, people may feel high after using 1 or 2 pills initially but eventually find that after regular use they have to take 3-4 pills to feel the same effects as before. If you’ve started increasing your dose to feel high, you have developed drug tolerance and may be struggling with opioid addiction.
3. You’re Constantly Preoccupied With Thoughts of Opioid Use
Drug tolerance and dependence are physical signs of opioid addiction, but there are mental and emotional symptoms, too. One of the most powerful symptoms is cravings.
Cravings are strong urges to use drugs, usually accompanied by constant preoccupation with buying, using, and recovering from the effects of drugs. You may feel anticipatory anxiety about running out of opioids and going into withdrawal or you may feel an intense, pressing desire to get high. You may also feel eager and excited when thinking about the next time you can use opioids.
4. You’ve Tried to Stop, But Failed to Stay Stopped
Many people who struggle with addiction want to stop but find that they are unable to do so by themselves. You may have even made a genuine attempt to stop using opioids, but found yourself using again to stop the cravings and withdrawal symptoms. If you have tried to stop using opioids or moderate your use in any way, but were unable to control how often and how much you use, it’s likely time to seek help from a trusted opioid rehab center.
5. Your Friends and Family are Concerned
When someone has a drug or alcohol problem, their close friends and family members are often the first ones to notice that something is wrong. The people you love will recognize behavioral, emotional, and physical changes that set off red flags for them, making them concerned about your substance abuse.
Common behavioral signs observed by loved ones include:
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Failure to take care of responsibilities due to your opioid use
- Lying to loved ones
- Getting in trouble with the law
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Isolating yourself from loved ones
- Changes in physical appearance such as pinpoint pupils, flushed skin or appearance, and weight loss or weight gain
- Changes in energy levels such as increased drowsiness or falling asleep at inappropriate times
If the people you love are concerned about you, you probably should be, too. Consider consulting with an addiction specialist at Sheer Recovery Center to learn about your opioid addiction treatment options.
6. You Keep Using Opioids Despite the Consequences
Opioid abuse and addiction can lead to poor decision-making, illegal behaviors, and unwanted consequences. Examples of these consequences include losing your job due to poor performance or absences, failing a class due to decreased academic performance, or getting into legal trouble for breaking the law or possessing drugs.
Many of these consequences are enough to make a person stop doing the things they did to get in trouble in the first place. However, if you are struggling with addiction, you may not be able to control your drug use, so you will continue using opioids even despite the consequences you are facing.
7. You’ve Started Taking Stronger, More Powerful Opioids
Another common sign of opioid addiction is beginning to transition to using stronger more powerful opioids such as heroin or fentanyl. If you started your addiction by using relatively weaker prescription opioids, such as codeine or hydrocodone, and have progressed to using stronger opioids like heroin, it’s time to get help before you take too much and experience an overdose.
Data reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows that 4-6% of people who misuse prescription opioids switch to heroin, and about 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
Find Help from an Opioid Rehab Center in California
If you’ve identified one or more symptoms of opioid addiction in yourself, it’s time to get the help you deserve. At Sheer Recovery, we offer clients a private, personalized addiction treatment experience. Our facility provides a safe, secure place for healing, and our talented, multidisciplinary staff of addiction and mental health professionals is dedicated to helping you recover every step of the way.
Treatment begins with medically-supervised detox where you may be given medications for comfort as you are closely monitored by our medical staff. Then, you can transition to our residential or outpatient treatment programs to participate in a range of therapies, addressing your addiction and its underlying causes.
If you have any questions about our California opioid rehab center or are ready to start your recovery journey, please give us a phone call today.
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