Opiates are powerful medications that doctors sometimes prescribe to relieve severe pain. While opiates provide welcome relief from pain, they can also be addictive. Opiate addiction can make it very hard to quit using these potent drugs. Addiction can cause significant behavior changes, and opiate addiction can have serious health effects – it can even lead to overdose and death. Signs of opiate addiction can be hard to spot, especially if you have not seen them before.
Also known as opioids or narcotics, opiates are derived from the opium poppy plant. Today, there is a large variety of opiates, including morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, and fentanyl. Over the years, manufacturing processes have made the pain-relieving properties of opiates hundreds of times stronger. In fact, fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and is about 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Stronger opiates have also made the potential for opiate abuse and addiction much more likely. In 2019, more than 10 million people in the United States misused opioids within the previous year, according to the US Department of Human and Health Services (HHS). About 4 to 6 percent of those who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin. Many people use opiates in pill form, while others inject the medicine directly into their veins.
In addition to physical issues, opioids can cause behavioral and social problems, such as job loss and the loss of family and friends. Addiction can also lead to criminal activity and legal problems, as addiction drives the person to commit crimes in order to afford more opiates.
Fortunately, opiate addiction treatment can help. But first, someone has to recognize the signs of opiate addiction and abuse.
Signs of Opiate Addiction
Opiate addiction can cause physical, psychological, and behavioral effects. Knowing these effects can help you detect signs of opiate addiction.
Physical Signs of Opiate Addiction
Opiates cause physical changes, such as slowing the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems. These changes can cause noticeable signs, such as:
- Breathing problems
- Nausea, constipation, diarrhea
- Sluggish reflexes and poor coordination
- Decrease in hygiene habits
Opiates can also sap someone’s energy, so they don’t put as much physical effort into things, such as personal hygiene.
Psychological Signs of Opiate Addiction
Opiate addiction can also affect a person’s ability to think clearly and change their moods. Opiate addiction can cause:
- Decrease in motivation
- Problems concentrating
- Paranoia, delusions
Behavioral Signs of Opiate Addiction
Addiction to opiates can change the way a person behaves. These behavioral changes may include:
- Emotional outbursts
- Isolation, detachment
Opiate Addiction Treatment
While addiction to opiates can have profoundly negative physical, psychological and behavioral effects, there is hope – opiate treatment can help stop addiction before it ruins someone’s life.
The best treatment for opiate addiction focuses on discontinuing opiates and helping the individual return to their normal life. Opiate addiction treatment helps people identify the underlying causes of their addiction, how to recognize triggers of substance abuse, and learn how to live without opiates.
It can also reduce withdrawal symptoms that appear when someone stops using opiates. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, nausea, muscle pain, and sometimes abdominal cramps and goosebumps. Treatment may include medications to ease withdrawal symptoms or medications such as methadone, which stop withdrawal symptoms before they begin.
Milestone Wellness Center provides opiate addiction treatment programs and opioid addiction treatment doctors that can help you or someone you love create a path towards a clean and sober life without opiates. For more information, contact Milestone Wellness Center today.