If you are concerned that a loved one is addicted to opioids, it’s essential to know the symptoms of opioid abuse, as opioid misuse leads to more overdose deaths than most other addictive drugs. Many people think they can tell, but the signs can be subtle and easy to miss, especially if your loved one is addicted to prescription opioids they were previously prescribed.
In this article, we discuss the symptoms of opioid abuse and how to help someone addicted to painkillers so that you can help them seek out treatment and avoid opioid overdose. For professional help when a loved one is abusing opioids, contact Summit Detox to learn more about our Boynton Beach detox services and admissions process for substance abuse.
What Are Opioids, and How Do They Work?
Opioids, a class of drugs, include prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin and illegal drugs like heroin. Opioids work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord to reduce the perception of pain. They also produce euphoric feelings, a leading reason for their abuse.
The most common opioids and pain relievers that can lead to drug addiction are:
The Effects of Opioid Abuse
Opioid abuse effects can vary depending on the person and the amount taken. However, some common effects are associated with opioid abuse, including:
- Slowed breathing
How to Tell If Someone Is Abusing Opioids
If you think someone you love is abusing opioids, you should look for specific signs. It’s important to remember that these signs of substance abuse can be subtle and may not be immediately apparent.
Some common symptoms of opioid abuse disorder include:
Mood or Behavior Changes
Opioid abuse can cause changes in a person’s mood or behavior. You might notice that they are more withdrawn than usual or appear in a daze. They may also be more irritable or aggressive.
Changes in Appearance
A person who is abusing opioids could lose interest in their appearance. They may wear the same clothes for days or not care about their hygiene.
Altered Sleeping Patterns
Opioid abuse often leads to altered sleeping patterns. A loved one may be tired during the day and have trouble sleeping at night.
Abnormal Eating Habits
People abusing opioids might lose their appetite or eat more than their typical food intake. They may also lose a lot of weight or look thinner than usual.
Reduction in School or Work Performance
Opioid abuse could affect a person’s school or work performance. They may start missing class or work, or their grades may begin to slip.
Opioid abuse can lead to financial problems. A person may spend more money than they have or begin to borrow money from others.
A loved one struggling with opioid abuse might start to act secretive. They may try to hide drug use from others or lie about where they are going and what they are doing.
A person abusing opioids may start collecting paraphernalia, such as pill bottles, syringes, or pipes.
A person abusing opioids may experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using them. These symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, and flu-like symptoms.
If you recognize any of these signs in a loved one, don’t delay getting them help. Opioid abuse is a severe problem that can be difficult to overcome without professional support. Being proactive with treatment reduces the chances of long-term damage and increases the chances of a successful recovery.
Summit Detox is a leading detox and addiction treatment service provider, and we offer various programs to meet each patient’s unique needs. Contact us today at (888) 995-5265 to learn more about our services.
How Can You Prevent Opioid Abuse in Your Loved Ones?
You can do multiple things to help prevent opioid abuse in your loved ones.
- Encourage them to be open with you: It’s essential to encourage your loved ones to be honest with you about their pain. Often, people feel isolated and think they can’t talk to anyone about their problems due to the stigma of addiction. If they feel like they can open up to you, you can help them get the treatment they need.
- Educate yourself about opioids: Learning more about opioids can help you prevent opioid abuse in your loved ones. You can research the associated risks and dangers if you know the specific opioid they are taking.
- Monitor their use of opioids: If your loved one takes opioids for pain relief, monitor their use. Ensure they take the medication as prescribed — not more than recommended.
- Encourage positive coping mechanisms: Help your loved ones find positive coping mechanisms for pain. This can include things like exercise, relaxation techniques, and counseling.
- Spend time with them: Spend time with your loved ones and really get to know them. This familiarity can help you identify any changes in their behavior or mood.
- Seek professional help: If you are concerned that your loved one is abusing opioids, seek professional help. A mental health professional can assess the situation and guide you on how to help your loved one best.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Abuse and Addiction?
Opioid abuse and addiction can seriously affect a person’s health. These effects can include:
- Liver damage: Opioids can damage the liver and cause problems like hepatitis and cirrhosis.
- Kidney damage: If opiod painkillers damage the kidneys, they can lead to issues like kidney disease.
- Brain damage: Opioids can damage the brain and cause problems with memory, learning, and decision-making.
- Heart damage: Addiction to opioids can damage the heart and cause heart attack and stroke.
- Death: Opioid abuse can lead to overdose and death.
Treatment Options for Opioid Dependence and Addiction
Treatment options are available if you or someone you love is struggling with opioid use disorder and addiction. Treatment can help a person stop using opioids and avoid severe consequences.
- Detoxification: As the first stage of treatment, opioid detoxification involves clearing the body of drugs. A medically supervised detox program is one of the best ways to complete this first step. It is not recommended to try to detox on your own as you won’t know how to deal with the withdrawal symptoms.
- Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment involves staying at a treatment center. During inpatient treatment, a person will receive 24-hour care and support.
- Outpatient treatment: When someone gets outpatient treatment, they attend counseling and therapy sessions at a treatment center. A person will typically participate in these sessions several times per week.
- Medications: Medications like buprenorphine and naltrexone can be used to treat opioid use disorder. These medications can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Therapy: Therapy helps a person understand the underlying causes of their addiction and develop coping skills.
- Support groups: Support groups provide social and emotional support for people recovering from addiction.
- Alternative therapies: Alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture can help a person cope with withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Relapse Prevention for Opioid Addiction
Relapse is a common occurrence in recovery from opioid addiction. However, you can help your loved one take steps to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety.
- Identify triggers: Triggers are things that can cause a person to relapse. Common triggers include stress, boredom, and social situations. It’s vital to identify personal triggers and avoid them.
- Develop a support system: A support system can help your loved one stay on track in recovery. This can include family, friends, a therapist, or a support group. They may also provide a sense of accountability and help you stay motivated.
- Practice self-care: Self-care, such as exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep, is vital to recovery.
- Develop coping skills: Coping skills can help your loved one deal with the challenges of recovery. These skills can include things like exercise, journaling, and deep breathing.
Relapse from drug abuse is a severe problem, but it doesn’t have to be a part of the healing journey. By taking steps to prevent relapse risk factors, you can help your loved one maintain sobriety and live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Opioid addiction is a serious problem with devastating consequences. However, treatment is available, and there is hope for recovery. Don’t hesitate to get help or learn more about how to help someone addicted to painkillers. Our Summit Detox admissions counselors can answer any questions about our treatment services and help you or your loved one on the road to recovery. Contact us today at (888) 995-5265.