Signs Someone is Addicted to Opiates

6 Signs Someone is Addicted to Opiates

6 Signs Someone is Addicted to Opiates

Something about your loved one is off.  You sense that something has changed but can’t quite put your finger on exactly what.  Slight changes in routines, habits, and behaviors begin to add up, while your own sense of dread mounts.  You hear about the problem with opiate addiction—stories about the epidemic are in the news constantly.  You wonder if possibly an opiate addiction is at the center of these changes you are witnessing in your loved one.  Could it be?

Opiate addiction can start quite innocently.  Perhaps the person had been prescribed pain medication after a sports injury or surgery and became addicted, started chasing that buzz after the prescription ran out.  Maybe the person tried one prescription pill offered at a party or at school.  As so often is the case, once addiction to pills is established, many then switch to heroin because it is a cheaper and more accessible alternative.  In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that over 4 million Americans over the age of 11 had tried heroin in 2011.  Opiates are so addicting that it doesn’t take long to find oneself at the mercy of an opiate addiction.

6 Signs Someone is Addicted to Opiates

As with all drug and alcohol abuse, the signs and symptoms associated with opiate addiction may start off vague but will gradually begin to become more defined as the addiction deepens.  Understanding the signs of opiate addiction is the first step in getting help for your loved one.  The next step is to actively seek the necessary treatment that could save their life.

Here are 6 signs someone is addicted to opiates:

 1. Physical symptoms.  There are several physical symptoms of opiate abuse or addiction.  These might include:

  • Drowsiness and lack of energy. The individual will be more fatigued than usual and seem to be on the verge of falling asleep.  Someone with an opiate problem will display this drowsy behavior several times during the day.
  • Opiates are renown for causing constipation and may request medication to ease the condition.
  • Tiny pupils. Constricted pupils is caused by the constriction of blood vessels while using opiates
  • Sleep disorders. Opiates can regularly cause insomnia.
  • Decreased appetite. Heroin users are usually underweight as a result of the drug causing decreased appetite.

2. Behavioral symptoms.  There are assorted changes in behaviors associated with opiate abuse, including:

  • Extended use of pain medication. If the individual continually refills a prescription following an injury or surgery it is a sign of opiate addiction.
  • Skips activities. The individual may stop participating in activities or events he or she once enjoyed
  • Decline in academic or work performance. A sudden dip in grades or being written up at work can be a sign of addiction.
  • Sneaky behavior. Increased need for privacy and isolating behaviors are red flags.
  • Hanging out with a different group of friends

3. Psychological effects.  Attitude changes, psychological symptoms, and mood swings are signs of opiate addiction, including:

  • Increased irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Confusion
  • Alternating with the outward signs of fatigue, the opiate addict will seem noticeably euphoric, displaying a burst of energy and a joyful mood while high.
  • Psychosis
  • Lack of motivation

4. Health effects.  Opiate addiction can cause physical health risks, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Bronchospasm
  • Depressed respiration
  • Death

5. Addiction behaviors.  There are specific hallmark signs of addiction, including:

  • Obsessed with obtaining the drug
  • Doctor shopping
  • Stealing prescription medications from friends or relatives
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Stealing money from family members to buy drugs
  • Neglecting physical appearance
  • Illegal activities
  • Inability to stop the drug regardless of negative consequences

6. Withdrawal symptoms.  When someone has become chemically dependent on opiates they will exhibit withdrawal symptoms when deprived of the drug, including:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Shaking

These 6 signs someone is addicted to opiates should be acknowledged and acted upon as early as possible.  The earlier treatment and intervention in addictive behaviors is provided, the better the recovery outcome.

The Treatment Specialist Locates High Quality Opiate Addiction Treatment

The Treatment Specialist is an industry leader in helping individuals in need of addiction treatment find the appropriate recovery program for their specific needs.  If someone you love is exhibiting the 6 signs someone is addicted to opiates, don’t delay getting them the help they need.  Contact The Treatment Specialist today for free treatment locator assistance at (866) 644-7911.

About the Author

Marissa Katrin Maldonado has been working in the field of addiction and behavioral health since 2006. She has been dedicated to helping individuals and families find treatment for addiction, dual diagnosis, mental health, and eating disorder conditions. Marissa received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University and her Masters Degree in Business Administration with a focus in Management at the University of Redlands, School of Business.

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