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How Can I Tell if Someone I Love Is Addicted To Opioids?

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When you care for someone, you want to think the best of them. That’s why signs of opioid abuse can be difficult to see clearly in those you love. Maybe you’ve noticed changes in your wife’s moods. Or, your dad’s behaviors just don’t add up. Perhaps it’s just your gut telling you that there’s a problem, even though you can’t put your finger on anything concrete. Trusting your instincts and confronting the issue head-on could end up saving your loved one’s life.

Signs of Opioid Use Disorder

Drug addiction isn’t what it looks like on TV or movies, especially when it’s an addiction to prescription pain relievers. Your loved one may be completely dependent on opioids and still thrive at work and take care of their personal responsibilities. As time goes on, however, and opioid addiction takes a firmer hold on their life, you may notice tiny cracks in their facade.

Here are some early red flags or warning signs that could indicate an opioid use disorder:

  • Not following their doctor’s directions on how to take their prescription opioid medication. This could include taking more than prescribed or using more often than recommended.
  • Taking the drug to improve their mood or because they’re having a “bad day.”
  • Using opioids even when they’re not in pain, just in case they have painful symptoms later on.
  • Pretending to lose their medication so that another prescription has to be written.
  • Borrowing pills from other people.
  • Visiting multiple doctors to have a backup supply.
  • Changes in their sleep patterns, such as insomnia or restlessness.
  • Mood swings, such as acting happy one moment and irritable the next.
  • Risk-taking behaviors, such as driving under the influence of opioids or taking their pills with alcohol.
  • Telling you that they’re going to quit, and then never doing it.
  • Getting caught in a lie or increased secrecy.
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, diarrhea, confusion and lack of energy.

Trust Your Instincts

If your friend, spouse, parent or child is addicted to opioids, sometimes it’s your own instincts that will indicate that there’s a problem. You will likely experience thoughts that pop into your head or changes in you react to situations. You might find yourself:

  • Worrying or feeling anxious about your loved one’s pill use.
  • Fearing that your loved one is going to die because of their prescription drug use.
  • Making excuses for your loved one’s behaviors.
  • Withdrawing from them to avoid their mood swings or confrontations.
  • Feeling the urge to call the police when you notice that they’ve obtained a prescription illegally.

Tell Your Loved One About Medication-Assisted Treatment

It’s natural to want to avoid addressing your concerns with your loved one. You may be afraid that you’re wrong or that their addiction will tear your family apart. However, an addiction to opioids is extremely dangerous and puts your loved one at risk of a lifetime of abuse or even overdose. Your spouse, sibling or parent is far more likely to recover if you refuse to ignore their addiction.

Now is the time to talk to your loved one about medication-assisted treatment (MAT). At MedMark, we specialize in evidence-based MAT along with compassionate counseling. Please reach out to us today to learn how we can help provide a foundation for your loved one’s long-term recovery.

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