Opiates come in many forms. Some are more familiar and are prescribed by doctors, including OxyContin, Vicodin, and codeine, while others are illegal street drugs such as heroin. While the variations of these drugs is wide, many of the signs of opiate addiction are similar. So if you suspect someone you love is using or abusing an opiate, knowing the signs of opiate addiction can help you decide what your next step should be in suggesting treatments.
Common Physical Signs of Opiate Addiction
While each individual may demonstrate slightly different signs of opiate addiction, the vast majority of those abusing medications or illegal drugs will demonstrate similar signs. These can include1:
- Noticeable elation/euphoria.
- Marked sedation/drowsiness.
- Constricted pupils.
- Slowed breathing.
- Intermittent nodding off, or loss of consciousness.
Non-Physical Signs of Addiction
Not all signs pointing to opiate addiction are physical. For starters, if they are shopping around for a different doctor, either out of the blue or multiple times during a short period of time, it could be a sign they are looking to get different prescriptions from varying doctors. You may find extra pill bottles in the trash or around the house, and they can run into sudden money problems. Additional signs include if they want to isolate themselves from the public or if they have sudden and often dramatic mood changes. All of these point to possible addiction.
If you notice withdrawal symptoms in your loved one, it can mean one of two things. First, maybe they are trying to kick their habit on their own. Going cold turkey forces the body to adjust when it has developed a reliance to specific chemicals entering the body, which often has adverse effects. It may also signal they simply have not managed to find more of their chosen narcotics. Either way, if you notice a loved one going through these symptoms, do what you can to assist. Treatments including those offered at a methadone clinic can reduce withdrawal symptoms, which makes moving past the addiction easier. The symptoms to look out for include sweating and fatigue, anxiety, being unable to sleep, suffering from headaches, diarrhea and both nausea and vomiting. The conditions are similar to that of the common flu, so you may need to look to see if other conditions, such as the physical signs of addiction are present.
Whether addicted to heroin or Vicodin, any kind of opiate abuse can quickly derail a person’s life as reliance on the drug becomes more and more substantial. One evidence-based way to treat opiate addiction is with the aid of a methadone clinic. Administered by medical professionals, methadone reduces the body’s dependency and allows patients to live a more productive lifestyle. If there are signs of opiate addiction in a loved one, you may want to consider sitting them down and talking with them about your concerns.