Getting treatment for a drug addiction, especially an opioid addiction, takes a lot of dedication and a lot of hard work; but before you can even begin treatment, you have to do something that’s even harder: Admit that you have an addiction, and want to get help.
Whether you’re an individual who may be struggling with an opioid dependence, or you’re a friend or relative of someone who may have an addiction, there are a few common signs that typically accompany a drug addiction. Here are a few signs that you, or someone you love, may have an addiction to opioids and is in need of help:
First, it’s important to know that some individuals may be more at risk for developing an addiction to prescription pain medications or to heroin (both of which are considered opioids) if that individual has other conditions. Individuals facing mental health illnesses (such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or dysthmia), those who have experienced any form of physical or psychological abuse in the past, or those who have dealt with other substance abuse problems are typically more at risk.
Opioids typically cause sluggishness and sleepiness, along with repressed emotions and numbness. A person with an opioid addiction will eventually develop a tolerance to the drug so that higher doses must be consumed in order to have the desired effect. Withdrawal symptoms will occur if the person stops taking the drug or decreases the normal dose, and this can include everything from vomiting and excessive sweating to increased aggression.
Because opioids are used as pain medications and they work by dulling the body’s ability to feel pain, continued use of opioids will have the same type of effect on a person’s mood. This can manifest itself in the form of extreme confusion, poor judgement and reasoning skills, poor concentration, and an inability to make plans or to remember things. On the other hand — and this is the one effect of opioids that leads to addiction — a sense of overwhelming euphoria will also appear.
This refers to how a person is acting because of their drug consumption, and these signs are often the best way to determine if someone you know is developing an opioid addiction. These typically include withdrawal from normal activities, trying to cut down on the drug without success, continued consumption of the drug even while knowing that it’s causing damage, and continued poor decision-making.
Opioid and heroin addiction treatments are as diverse as the people who suffer from the addiction, and it’s important to know that help is available and that you’re not alone. It’s estimated that around 24 million people live with an opioid addiction, including at least two million Americans, and experts estimate that 2,500 U.S. teens try out an opioid for the first time every single day.
Treating an opioid addiction is not easy — but admitting you have one is the first, and most important, step to take.