Signs of Opioid Abuse: How To Tell If Someone is Addicted to Opiates

Physicians and practitioners often prescribe opioid pain medication to relieve acute pain from things like surgeries, dental work, and chronic pain. Some popular opioid pain medications include oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone, codeine, and dilaudid, among others. While opioid pain medication can be helpful in many cases, misuse of these medications can increase the risk or opioid use disorder. In fact, there were roughly 10.3 million people aged 12 and older who misused opioid painkillers in the past year. In recent years, the opioid crisis has taken a toll on the country, and an average of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Still, there are countless individuals who have sought help and successfully overcome opioid addiction.

behavioral signs of opioid addiction in others

You should never avoid or delay seeking professional health care advice or services based on information obtained from our website. While alcohol can increase the euphoric effects of opioids, combining these substances is dangerous because both drugs are nervous system depressants. Therefore, alcohol and opioid combinations can lead to a heightening of hazardous effects, as well as the possibility of overdoses, coma, and seizures. Opioids are also very potent, which means their effects can be intense and quick-acting.

Recognizing An Opiate Addiction

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), 58.8 million prescriptions for oxycodone were dispensed in 2013. Prolonged opioid use can induce a paradoxical condition known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia, whereby individuals become more sensitive to pain when taking opioids. Noticeable fluctuations in mood, such as increased irritability, sadness, anxiety, signs of opioid addiction or anger, can indicate a number of potential problems. However, when combined with opioid use, mood swings may correlate with whether or not the person is high or if they are without their drug of choice. Download and print a convenient visual reference of the steps you shoudl take if you encounter someone who may be experiencing an opioid overdose.

Patients who are highly motivated and have good social support tend to do better with the support of these medications. Withdrawal symptoms may increase in severity over 72 hours before beginning to ease. Unlike withdrawal from other drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, withdrawal from opioids is uncomfortable but rarely life-threatening. Treatment can include supportive measures to ease symptoms and help ensure the person is safe, including administering methadone or buprenorphine. People with substance use disorders may go to hospital emergency rooms because they are in crisis due to physical or emotional distress.

Opioid Addiction: Signs, Side Effects & Treatment

“You get lots of side effects such as nausea and constipation. It’s really not pleasant. Doctors use an 11-point checklist to help determine if a person’s opioid use signals a deeper problem. Opioid addiction, particularly through injection drug use, heightens the risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C due to needle sharing. If you wish to contact a specific rehab facility then find a specific rehab facility using our treatment locator page or visit While opioid withdrawal is not fatal, it can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable.

They will have a harder time reacting to questions and keeping up with conversations. “If you’re using more and more of a drug, yet your daily functioning is getting worse instead of better, that’s a sign of addiction,” Morrow says. “If you’re using for a longer time than prescribed, that’s a warning sign. If you’re using it for reasons other than prescribed — for example, because you’re depressed or anxious or bored, that puts you at really high risk.” Hydrocodone is another powerful opioid drug that is usually combined with other painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Its most popular form is under the brand name Vicodin, a well-known drug that contains both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is one of the most popular (and addictive) prescription opioids on the market.

How can you avoid addiction to opioids?

“Methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release intramuscular naltrexone—are known to be life-saving and are the cornerstone of opioid use disorder management.” The study compared the frequency of this use between individuals who used cannabis, typically obtained from non-regulated sources, and those who did not use cannabis. Costa, under the mentorship of Dr. Joao P. De Aquino, of Yale University, and colleagues, carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing research on the influence of cannabis on non-medical opioid use. The study authors also compared the frequency of opioid use between people who used cannabis, typically obtained from non-regulated sources, as well as those who didn’t use cannabis. However, according to a study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, opioid addiction likely isn’t one of them.

  • Detox programs provide a solid foundation for individuals to pursue further treatment at an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment center.
  • Reach out for help now, so you can begin to build a better future today.
  • However, even when prescription drugs are used as intended, people can still be at risk of developing addiction.
  • Furthermore, opiates disrupt the natural production of endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that help the body manage pain naturally.

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