Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction - Suboxone Clinic Palm Beach

Opioid addiction is a serious issue in America and worldwide. 3 million Americans and 16 million people worldwide have dealt with or continue to suffer from opioid addiction. While many people abuse illicit opioids like heroin, a large contributing factor to the opioid addiction crisis is the overprescribing of prescription opioids. In 2015, 91.8 million Americans were using prescription opioids. Since the potential of abuse is so high concerning opioid medications, many patients end up misusing the drugs and developing a dependency.[1]

Due to the prevalence of opioid addiction in our country, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction (opioid use disorder).

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs derived from the poppy plant that cause a variety of effects on the brain. Typically, opioids are prescribed as pain-relief medication. This is because they reduce the number of pain signals sent to the brain. While they are extremely effective for pain relief, opioids can cause some less desirable side effects.

On top of relieving pain, opioids also cause the brain to release endorphins. This causes the user to experience feelings of happiness and euphoria. Oftentimes, this causes the individual to feel “high”. These effects are the reason that opioids are highly addictive. Unfortunately, many individuals become addicted to their opioid prescriptions. When an addicted individual runs out of an opioid prescription, they might begin to abuse illicit opioids such as heroin.

Opioid drugs include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Tramadol
  • Sufentanil
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Opium
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl

Risk Factors and Causes of Opioid Addiction

When an individual begins using opioids differently than they were prescribed, their risk for addiction becomes increased. To explain, crushing opioid pills to snort or inject them poses a greater risk for addiction. This is because the drug is rapidly delivered to an individual’s body, causing faster and more intense effects. Doing so poses many risks, including an opioid overdose.

The length of time an individual is prescribed opioids also plays a huge role in whether or not they develop an addiction. According to research, using opioids for longer than a few days increases one’s risk of dependency and addiction. When an individual takes opioids for longer than 5 days, the chances of long-term use increase. When a person uses opioids on a long-term basis, it is difficult to avoid addiction.

However, there are several risk factors for opioid addiction, including genetic, psychological, and environmental causes.

The risk factors of opioid addiction include:[2]

  • Family history of addiction
  • Personal experience with drug abuse or experimentation
  • Regular or heavy tobacco use
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Home or work stressors
  • Unemployment or poverty
  • A history of criminal activity
  • Stressful life events or family issues

The Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder

The symptoms of any type of addiction can be psychological, physical, behavioral, and cause changes to one’s moods. This is especially true for individuals suffering from opioid use disorder. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to identify whether an individual is suffering from opioid addiction. This is because people who struggle with addiction attempt to hide their symptoms from friends, family members, and coworkers.

Let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction.

Mood Symptoms

When a person is abusing opioids their mood will become altered. This is because the substances begin to alter the way their brain works, ultimately affecting their mood.

The mood symptoms of opioid addiction include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of interest in previous hobbies
  • Depressed mood
  • Hyperactivity

Psychological Symptoms

The effects of long-term opioid abuse on an individual’s brain chemistry can lead to psychological changes. Even when an individual is not under the influence of opioids, they will continue to experience psychological symptoms.

The psychological symptoms of opioid addiction include:

  • Loss of concentration or interest
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Mood swings and extreme behavior changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Altered perception of reality

Physical Signs

The physical signs of opioid addiction typically occur while an individual is under the influence of opioids. However, if an individual abruptly stops using opioids, they will experience physical signs of addiction known as withdrawal symptoms. This should always be treated in a professional detox facility.

The physical signs of opioid use disorder include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Shallow or slowed breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Sweating
  • The presence of withdrawal symptoms

Behavioral Signs

When an individual is addicted to opioids, the drug becomes their number one priority. This causes them to display behavioral signs like isolating themselves from friends and family to avoid being caught.

The behavioral signs of opioid addiction include:

  • Withdrawing socially
  • Slurring speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Becoming uninterested in previously enjoyed activities
  • Stealing from loved ones to buy opioids
  • Uncharacteristically engaging in risky behaviors

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is a serious condition that must be treated professionally. When an individual abruptly stops using opioids, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms may become painful or dangerous if left untreated. As a result, attending a medical detox facility for opioid addiction is vital to one’s success.[3]

At Suboxone Treatment Clinic of Palm Beach, FL, we provide our patients with the tools they need to successfully beat opioid addiction. By utilizing evidence-based therapies and FDA-approved medications like Suboxone, we set our patients up for long-term success. Contact us today for more information on opioid addiction treatment in Florida.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448203/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553166/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24758595/

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