What does Opioid Addiction Look Like?

Opioid addiction can affect anyone. In fact, in 2017, more than 70,200 Americans died from drug overdoses, and the numbers continue to grow with the opioid crisis. The misuse of opioids may simply begin with the prescription of opioid pain relievers for a medical condition, with almost a third of patients who are prescribed opioids for pain misusing them. 

Although opioid addiction can affect anyone, at any point of their life, people with a family history, depression, anxiety, or history of drug use are more at risk. If you are worried that a loved one is becoming addicted to opioids, it can be hard to be sure. However, there are signs that you can be aware of and look out for.

What is Opioid Addiction?

Opioids addiction can be in the form of misuse of illegal opioids such as heroin or illegally made/distributed fentanyl, or prescription opioids such as:

  • hydrocodone 
  • oxycodone 
  • oxymorphone 
  • morphine 
  • codeine
  • fentanyl

Physicians usually prescribe opioid medication to relieve pain, but they can be highly addictive. When a person allows the use of opioids to interfere with their daily life and cannot stop taking them, it is known as opioid addiction – or opioid use disorder. Dependence can interfere with all aspects of life, including work, daily routines, relationships, finances, and health. 

What are the signs of Opioid Addiction?

It can be difficult to notice an opioid addiction, especially in the early stages. Changes may be very subtle, but over time tend to become more apparent. Common signs of opioid addiction include:

  • Mood/energy swings: Showing extremes of being very energetic/hyperactive or very tired/lethargic. 
  • Agitation: having a short temper, being easily agitated, or unusually bothered by everyday things
  • A change in sleeping patterns: being asleep or awake at odd times and sleeping noticeably more or less than usual. 
  • Alterations in weight: A change in weight (loss or gain) due to eating more or less than usual.
  • Lack of hygiene: everyday hygienic routines are often no longer a priority, so you may start to see these practices slip.
  • Poor decision making and new financial difficulties: this may even extend to stealing from friends/family to pay for opioids.
  • Changes in relationships: people with an addiction often begin to isolate themselves from family or friends. They may also lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.
  • Frequent cold/flu type symptoms: taking opioids, changing eating habits, and not taking care of the body can lead to low immunity and regular cold/flu-type symptoms. 
  • Medication overuse: people with a prescription opioid addiction might begin to try and get the same prescription from multiple doctors. Or they may borrow/steal similar medication from a friend/relative. They may claim that they lost their medicine to get a second supply. 

How can you find Opioid Addiction Support?

Treatment for opioid addiction is available from medical professionals, medication-assisted treatment centers, qualified professionals, and support groups. Recovery is possible, and there is treatment available

The best place to start is to contact your family physician for support. They can help signpost you in the direction of all the treatment options available in your local area. If you are concerned about a loved one, and they will not admit they have a problem with opioids, then you can still consult with a doctor. They can advise you on how to best approach the situation. 

Achieve Whole Recovery in Colorado Springs

If you are looking for addiction therapy and treatment services, then Achieve Whole Recovery can help. We offer substance abuse and addiction therapy and medical-assisted therapy in the form of both buprenorphine opiate replacement and vivitrol receptor blockers to meet your recovery needs. If you are worried about the cost implications, please note that Achieve Whole Recovery accepts Medicaid and Medicare. We work with our clients to understand the underlying cause of substance abuse and the best treatment plans for their individual needs. We are dedicated to helping people achieve whole recovery.