Many people use opioids to treat chronic pain.
However, when they overuse the drugs, they can become addicted to it.
But it is not always easy to tell if someone you know has an addiction to opioids.
Recently, researchers from the University of Michigan suggest 11 signs of opioid addiction everyone should know:
Taking a substance in larger amounts or longer than needed
Prescription painkillers are meant to be a short-term fix. Any long-term use can mean something is wrong.
Craving or strong urge to use opioids
A user might be well aware that opioids have negative consequences, but s/he just wants to get more.
Cannot 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.
Recurrent opioid use in dangerous 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 even with 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.
Continued opioid use even with 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.
Cannot stop 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.
Spend too much 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.
Withdrawal from social, work 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.
A need for more opioids to achieve intoxication
Continued opioid use slows endorphin production, leading a user to seek more to receive the same pleasure.
Show strong withdrawal symptoms
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, including visiting opioid specialists and taking drugs to help people with addiction.
A patient’s primary care doctor 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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