Opioid addiction is a widespread epidemic in the United States. With several million people currently addicted to opioids in the United States today, this is truly an unprecedented disorder. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there are nearly 2 million people who struggle with pain pill addiction, and the number is growing rapidly.
The Mayo Clinic reports that “up to one-third of people who take opioids for chronic pain misuse them, and more than 10 percent become addicted over time.” With such a high number of people addicted, odds are you may have a loved one who is struggling with dependence. Even if you do not, it is critical to learn the warning signs of an opiod addiction to protect yourself and those you care about. By understanding these signs, you have the potential to initiate an early intervention, giving your loved one the best chance at recovery. This article will seek to provide the six major signs your loved one may be struggling with an opioid addiction, in hopes that you will have the information you need to confront them, and potentially save their life.
Understanding Opioid Addiction
Before you can help your loved one, you need to understand what opioid addiction is. Opioids are painkillers that are stronger than typical over-the-counter prescriptions. While they are a highly effective method of treatment, they can quickly turn into a devastating addiction. These painkillers are only intended to be taken for a specific purpose, and for a prescribed amount of time. Once a person has become psychologically or physically dependent on opioids, they are considered to be an addict. You must understand the severity of this addiction to support your loved one effectively. This addiction can have deadly consequences, and must be treated with urgency. The good news is that there are tell-tale signs of addiction that, if caught early enough, can help you intervene, and get your loved one treated at an Opioid addiction treatment near you.
Recognizing the Signs
There are six signs that your loved one may have an opioid addiction:
1. Lifestyle Changes
You may notice that your loved one has started to make drastic lifestyle changes. While some change is fine, if you begin to notice sudden, extreme changes in your loved one’s habits, this could be a sign of potential addiction. Have they started to neglect work or school responsibilities? Have they have become secretive, reclusive, or not as open about their life as they once were? Another lifestyle change that can identify a potential addiction is the neglect of life necessities in order to purchase drugs. Have they started selling some of their personal belongings? Some addicts will stop spending money on necessities like food or utilities to fund their addiction. While some lifestyle changes may not be noticeable, if you notice any drastic changes, you should be concerned and investigate further.
2. Mood Swings
An opioid addict will often experience drastic mood swings. You may notice that your loved one has been acting strangely for an extended period of time. Maybe they have gone from mild-mannered and easy going, to suddenly having problems controlling their anger. Perhaps you have noticed sudden differences in the course of your time spent with them. Do they quickly go from calm to annoyed? If these are uncommon shifts for your loved one, it could indicate a potential problem. This can be a sign of opioid addiction as well.
3. Decreased Energy
You may notice that your loved one has an unusually low amount of energy. One of the side-effects of opioid addiction is drowsiness. Opioids can also cause one to sleep excessively or lose sleep. Either side-effect can impose a low amount of energy. If you notice that your loved one is lethargic or constantly tired, you should note this as a sign of a potential problem.
4. Increased Use of Drugs or Alcohol
Has your loved one increased their alcohol consumption? You may have also noticed that they have increased the amount of pain medication that they are taking. They may start to take painkillers “just in case” they start to feel pain. This is a tell-tale sign of an addiction. Even worse, you may find that they have begun taking or increased their use of illegal or recreational drugs.
5. Physical Side-Effects
Opioid addiction can cause physical side-effects, as well. You may have noticed your loved one has abnormal or troubled breathing, nausea, or constipation. They may also show signs of confusion or lack of coordination. If your loved one shows signs of these or other abnormal physical side effects, you should investigate further to see if there is a potential problem.
Addicts will often have unusual or frequent cravings. If you notice an increased craving for drugs, alcohol, or other substances in your loved one, seek treatment for them as soon as possible.
Finding Drug Rehab Centers in Arkansas
If you recognize the signs of addiction to pain pills and need an opioid addiction treatment center in Arkansas, contact ARcare to set up an appointment. Our compassionate, professional staff is committed to providing the best possible painkiller addiction treatment in Arkansas.