Many people use opioid to deal with chronic pain.
However, when they overuse the drug, they become addicted to it.
it is not always easy to tell if someone you know has an addiction to opioids.
But researchers from the University of Michigan suggest 11 signs of opioid addiction everyone should know:
Taking a substance in larger or longer amounts than intended
Prescription painkillers are meant to be a short-term fix. Any long-term use can mean something is wrong.
Cannot curb or control opioid use
Even if a person wants to quit, s/he cannot do it due to some difficulties.
That’s because genetic, environmental and psychological factors put some opioid users at an elevated risk for addiction.
Excess time spent obtaining, using or recovering from opioid use
A person addicted to opioids might spend a lot of time and money seeking drugs. Sometimes they may find other substances to use instead.
Craving or strong urge to use opioid
A user might be well aware that opioids have negative consequences, but s/he just wants to get more.
Repeat failure to fulfill work, home or school duties
Opioid use can disrupt body clock and cause sedation, the effects can affect existing life duties — and be noticeable to others.
Continued opioid use despite related social problems
Personality changes such as irritability may indicate an opioid problem. A user may keep using drugs even the behavior has already cause tensions in relationships.
Withdrawal from social, occupational or recreational activities
Many opioid users who become addicted skip leisure pursuits or group outings. They do less and less and it might not be clear why.
Recurrent opioid use in physically hazardous situations
Much like those who struggle with an addiction to alcohol, acting recklessly under the influence of opioids is a known side effect.
Those behaviors may include recklessness while swimming, driving or using machinery or having unsafe sex.
Continued use despite a persistent physical or psychological issue
Opioids can worsen mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.
And those patients already are more vulnerable to addiction.
A need for more opioid to achieve intoxication
Continued opioid use slows endorphin production, leading a user to seek more to receive the same pleasure.
Withdrawal symptoms are evident
Diarrhea, sweating, and moodiness, among other things, can occur when the drugs wear off.
The symptoms are not medically dangerous, but they can be extremely uncomfortable. Moreover, they can lead to more opioid use to counteract the effects.
So how to treat opioid addiction?
Experts suggest various treatment options are available, including visiting opioid specialists and taking drugs designed to help people with addiction.
A patient’s primary care doctor — or the doctor who prescribed the opioid — can help assess the situation and recommend options.
Support from families and loved ones is very important.
It’s also recommended that households with a person with opioid addiction keep a supply of Narcan (naloxone). The drug can rapidly counteract a narcotic overdose.
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