Do you think your loved ones might be struggling with addiction? Have you recently started noticing dependency on certain substances?
It is concerning how many individuals have died or ended up in hospitals because of painkillers. People are becoming dependent on drugs, whether legal or illicit, and the results can be disastrous.
A significant percentage of people struggle with opioid addiction without even knowing. They might be too scared or embarrassed to speak up about it. However, you’re not alone. A lot of people go through it, and it’s never too late to get help.
There are early signs of opioid addiction to help you take charge before things get too serious. This article will help you to identify the warning signs of opioid addiction.
Are Opioids Addictive?
Yes, opioids are highly addictive.
Opioids are common in painkillers, paracetamols used to cure pain, and hazardous and illegal drugs like heroin. Opioids are addictive because they target a specific part of the human body; the nervous system.
Using drugs with traces of opioids relieves the body from physical pain and gives the mind euphoric relief, making it highly addictive. You want freedom from the pain, both of the body and the mind making you use the drug repeatedly.
This process gradually activates the brain’s reward system. Over time, your body and brain depend on opioids to perform simple, day-to-day tasks.
Opioid addiction leads to your body getting used to the drug, that only using large quantities will get you to that euphoric state, which is grounds for a possible overdose – a leading cause of death in cases of drug overdose across North America.
What Symptoms Does Opioid Use Cause
Opioid use has many symptoms and effects on a person’s daily life. Some symptoms are due to short-term use of the drugs, while others are due to long-term use.
That being highlighted, it is essential to note that not everyone will experience the same symptoms because everyone differs slightly in their chemistry and physique. Here are some of the common symptoms opioid addiction can cause:
1. Nausea and Vomiting
Research has shown that many people experience nausea and vomiting, primarily when using them. Your body could be rejecting the drug, or simply not used to it at first. This can be brought on by withdrawal, or appear after first-time use.
Opioids are known to interfere with the digestive system. They make it slower. Without adequately managing this symptom, it can cause severe harm to the gut and lead to other digestive complications.
3. Slowed Breathing
Another symptom of opioid use is slowed or labored breathing. Breathing becomes slow and many struggle after prolonged opioid use. Those with asthma need to be especially cautious. Once these types of symptoms appear, you must get help.
As discussed earlier, opioids mess with the nervous system. The prolonged use of opioids does a number on the brain. Brain fog or mental numbness is common. You will feel out of character and do things you wouldn’t normally do. Many people act on impulse.
5. Poor Coordination
The nervous system is the part of the body responsible for everything related to coordination: walking, talking, and any movement. The use of opioids can cause poor coordination, and disrupt motor function.
6. Impaired Judgment and Thinking
We know opioids impact the brain. You may develop difficulties performing simple tasks, thinking clearly, or making executive decisions. If you experience these symptoms or notice them in a loved one, it is time to get help.
7. Hormonal Imbalances
After prolonged use of opioids, you start noticing a change in mood, bodily functions, and general health. Sex drive may disappear. Opioids may cause sudden or prolonged changes in hormones.
When you start noticing that you cannot perform everyday functions without using opioids, this is a tell-tell sign that you might get addicted. A day or a few days without using feels like hell; these withdrawal symptoms make you feel sick.
3 Signs a Person Might Have an Opioid Problem: Things to Watch Out For
Taking painkillers with opioids is extremely common, but they are also highly addictive. If you feel like someone you know is not only taking their medication for the pain, they may be addicted to the feeling of numbness, and that is a sign of a clear opioid use problem.
Here are other signs of addiction:
1. Using It as a Coping Mechanism
Once someone starts using drugs, like opioids, to deal with emotions or numb feelings, it is a sign that they might have an opioid problem.
2. Overuse of the Drug After Pain Has Died
It’s entirely recommended to take the necessary medication when someone has been in an accident or their health status is not great. Painkillers can contain several opioids like Vicodin or Oxycontin which help ease the pain. However, people shouldn’t take this more than prescribed.
If after a few days the pain persists, the person should immediately contact their medic, if that someone is still hooked on the painkillers, that person might have developed an addiction to the medication.
3. Withdrawal Symptoms
On the contrary. If after having a prescription to take medication that contains opioids, and quitting, the person starts to experience nausea, headaches, night sweats, painful joints or even vomiting, they might have an issue.
These are signs of withdrawal caused by addiction. The user will be tempted to renew their prescription to eliminate discomfort; instead, they should get help immediately.
At What Point Is Opioid Use a Problem
Opioids become a problem when the people who consume them can no longer perform day-to-day functions without taking a pill or injection. They no longer feel the urge to work or eat or talk. Things that people would normally do with ease become a heavy burden. Joy from everyday activities has faded.
Opioids become a problem when they interfere with your relationships, work life, and hobbies. You might feel like you are a burden, and everything around you is a burden.
Health starts degenerating, and hygiene too. People no longer pay attention to their attire and don’t care about appearing presentable. Their body cannot fight infections like they used to, and they get susceptible to minor infections that put them down.
If you or a loved one have seen this behavior, consider getting help.
How To Deal With Someone Who Has an Opioid Problem
We understand that dealing with someone with an opioid problem is challenging. But they are your loved ones and need your help now more than ever.
- Encourage them to get help. Be as calm and understanding as possible when suggesting getting them help, because it might offend them.
- Suggest treatment options. They will feel cared for when they see you have taken the initiative to find a suitable space for them. Addiction support groups are vital resources for those struggling.
- Offer support. We have mentioned that people addicted to opioids may have problems conducting normal day-to-day activities.
- Know when to back away. A person addicted to opioids is always on edge; anything can trigger them. Although you are trying to help, it can come across as overbearing, which might cause them to lash out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Opioid addiction is more common than people assume. It is in many commonly prescribed painkillers. The signs of drug addiction might not be obvious. Here are some frequently asked questions people have inquired about the drug:
What is the Most Common Cause of Opioid Addiction?
The most common cause of opioid addiction is painkillers. These painkillers are strong enough to numb the most severe pain and, at the same time, offer feelings of euphoria and happiness. This makes it addictive.
What is the Most Commonly Abused Opioid?
Oxycodone is the most widely abused opioid. It is highly addictive and used to cure mild to severe pain in clinical settings.
Additional Addictions to Watch For
You never know who might be suffering in silence. There are many forms of drug addiction out there. Here are some you need to watch out for:
- Signs of Alcohol Addiction: Alcohol addiction is the most common form of drug addiction. It is associated with compulsive drinking, loss of control, and dependency on alcohol to function.
- Signs of Xanax Addiction: Xanax is a drug primarily used to treat instances of anxiety and insomnia. It is commonly abused because of the calm and relaxation it provides users.
- Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction: Hydrocodone is used to treat pain and is considered an opioid painkiller. Short- and long-term use can result in brain dysfunction and other health problems.
Opioid addiction is a grave problem, and to help you or a struggling loved one find the help they need, you should consider all the information. Understanding how the drug works and having a robust support system is critical to help your loved ones go through this.