Although you might not be suffering from an opioid addiction, you may know someone who is. And, unfortunately, that someone could be a family member or friend.
In 2016, Over 11 million people reportedly abused prescription opioids—and that does not count the millions who used them without a prescription.Knowing what an opioid addiction looks like can help nudge your loved one towards the path to recovery, even if it is just a little bit.
If you have ever suffered from addiction, it can be hard to recognize the signs in your loved ones. You should first gather all the information needed to recognize the addiction, and to help your loved one get the care they need. Read further to learn how to recognize the signs, and find painkiller addiction treatment in Mississippi through MississippiCare.
What Is an Opioid?
You might have heard the word “opioid” used in a doctor‘s office, or even on the news. However, this term can be nebulous to those who have not researched it.
An opioid is a substance generally used for pain relief, found from the opium poppy plant, and normally prescribed to treat severe pain, coughing, and other ailments.
How Can Opioids Be Harmful?
When used over extensive periods of time without moderation, opioids can be extremely harmful to the patients they are prescribed to. When abused, these drugs can be extremely destructive, not only to addicts, but the lives of those close to them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, opioids that are taken over time slow down the body’s endorphin production, and can even stop it. If endorphin production is stopped, the body develops a tolerance to the drug, producing less and less endorphins with every dose. As a result, the patient must take more medication to achieve the intended effect.
Abusing these medications can have terrible consequences for patients and their loved ones. However, if you can recognize the common signs of opioid addiction, you can help someone you know get the help they need. Some risk factors include:
- Mental disorder, depression or anxiety
- Poverty or unemployment
- Family or personal history of substance abuse
- Criminal activity or contact with high-risk environments
These risk factors are not guaranteed indicators of an opioid addiction, merely environmental hazards that can lead one to addiction. However, there are red flags in a person’s behavior that can help you spot drug abuse before it becomes an even bigger problem. Here are just a few:
Violent and Abrupt Changes in Mood
You might notice an increase of sudden spikes of depression, anxiety, a desire to be withdrawn from family and friends (including you), and a sudden display of feelings of euphoria.
Other signs of an opioid addiction include sudden development of suicidal tendencies, impaired judgment, impaired short or long term memory, and problems paying attention or staying focused.
If you notice changes in the way your loved one interacts with others, this might be a sign of an opioid addiction.
They might experience a decreased interest in the activities they once highly enjoyed or participated in, or even neglect their personal, social, or work-related responsibilities altogether.
Some other out-of-place behavioral changes can include an urgent need for money, sometimes to the point of selling their possessions, or taking on odd jobs for quick cash.
If this person was not ill very often before you began noticing changes, the physical side-effects of withdrawal can be a major sign of an opioid addiction.
You might notice this person experiencing nausea, constipation, or even irregular breathing patterns. During activity, your loved one could be displaying a lack of coordination (where they were well-coordinated before), or even be displaying confusion during perfectly sensible moments.
Increased Usage of or Cravings for Drugs and Alcohol
You may have noticed that your loved one takes their medication ahead of their prescribed schedule, or possibly increased alcohol usage. Both of these can be signs of opioid addiction.
Taking opioids can lead to heavy binging episodes, and experimenting with more addictive substances. If you have noticed a loved one engaging in these activities, their addiction may have already reached a dangerous point. You may need to stage an intervention, and contact an addiction treatment center.
Recognizing the signs of an opioid addiction is just the first step of helping your loved one. Finding and consulting an addiction treatment center near you can help your loved one towards overcoming their addiction.
Do not hesitate to contact us at MississippiCare. Our team of medical experts are here to help you and your loved one tackle opioid addiction head on.