Opiate Addiction Symptoms
So what does an opiate addict look like and how would you know?
You can probably conjure up a stereotype—a skid row junkie shooting up heroin at a condemned drug house in some large urban area.
Americans tend to think that opiate addiction isn’t out in the open, so they fail to see the millions of people who begin to get into trouble with these powerful drugs, mainly because they aren’t looking at what is in front of them.
May be hard to spot
Opiate addiction symptoms are sometimes hard to spot, mainly because you’re not expecting something to be out of the ordinary.
For example, I once worked with a stay-at-home mother of two girls, who was married to a police officer and was trying to recover from a knee surgery.
There were some post-operative complications and instead of correcting her knee problem, the failed surgery created a chronic pain management issue.
She was prescribed an opiate analgesic to help her with the discomfort.
It wasn’t meant to be taken over the long haul, but she quickly began to take too many pills, too often.
Let’s stop there for a moment.Taking prescription pain medication in any way other than the exact, prescribed way is drug abuse
. Opiate addiction symptoms begin with drug abuse.
As time wore on, she had to refill her prescription too often, and so to make sure she had enough opiate pain medication on hand she would find another doctor to writer her a script.
At the time it was relatively easy to “doctor shop.” She described how she had doctors everywhere.
Her pain persisted and her dependence on the opiate drug increased to the point where she would get desperate if she thought she was going to run out.
She even took money out of the children’s piggy bank to buy from a street dealer.
It wasn’t until she ran afoul with the law that her husband, the cop, even knew there was an issue.
Opiate addiction symptoms are as subtle as a whisper for help, or as obvious as a rap sheet.
We’ll take a look at opiate addiction symptoms and show some ways in which family and friends can spot trouble, hopefully before it gets too far along. Let’s define addiction. Not everybody that takes drugs will become an addict. Not everyone who abuses opiate drugs for recreation will become an addict. Addiction is when the user can no longer chose whether or not to use the drug. People say they can handle it, but so often they can’t.
They tell you they can quit anytime they want, only they don’t.Chances are, there are slipping into addiction. You may have a talk with them and they agree that they need to “cut down,” or they’ll promise to “cut down,” only it never happens. An opiate addiction symptom is the denial of the addict, when everyone else clearly sees there is a problem. There are some general signs of addiction that not only apply to opiates, but have application for people who abuse other drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. Watch for signs of behavior change. As a person begins to slide down the slippery slope of addiction, they will begin to use more drug more often.
Opiate addiction begins with the user building a tolerance to the drug, meaning it takes more drug to achieve the same results.
It takes more and more pills
They might be sleeping too much, or lose weight, or from time-to-time become irritable for no reason.These are all possibilities. Farther along, a person might start to miss work, or drop out of school, or lose interest in their appearance. Sometimes these symptoms are barely evident, but together they represent a major change in behavior. As the cycle of the addiction moves forward, opiate addiction symptoms become more apparent, as the drug is now the primary focus of the person’s day. The addict may have begun to crush the drug and snort it like they would cocaine, which produces a more intense high. They are always trying to find more. The problem is, prescription pain medication is expensive, to an opiate addict may switch from their pharmaceutical to street heroin, which is less expensive, but clearly more dangerous because they don’t know what they are buying. A good indication to look for is when the person doesn’t have the drug. Sometimes within hours, or perhaps a day, they will begin to suffer withdrawal. They are used to having the opiate and their brain thinks the opiate is supposed to be there to function, so the intense cravings begin. Eventually, opiate addiction symptoms will be those of people who have respiratory distress, or heart disease. They may suffer from malnutrition. In some cases they may have emotional and psychological issues. They may wind up in the emergency room after an overdose. The main point for family and friends is to be watchful. Those changes in behavior are sure signs that something is wrong. Opiates deaden pain, they are downers and an opiate addiction symptom like slowing down or slurred speech is a sign. But just watching routine daily activities can tell you a lot. The addiction is not going to want to let go, so addicts sometimes need a strong hand to get them into treatment. There is hope. Treatment centers all over the country can provide expert medical care and professional drug counseling for addicts who desire to get the monkey off their back.
Family members need to be strong, persistent and stand their ground.
The addict will fight against treatment, but given free reign in a person’s life, the opiate addiction symptoms will one day become the cause of death.
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- Matthew 7:7-8
Step 3 may be the most difficult and important of the steps in the program, what is it and why is it needed, this week on Recovery Now!