Opioid Addiction: Signs and Symptoms

Heroin comes in many forms. Cut into popular club drugs like ecstasy, found in small sacks, pinches of opium, or in prescription painkillers, heroin is everywhere. Heroin is an opioid. The human brain naturally has opioid receptors, which communicate pain and pleasure. Opioid drugs fill those receptors, telling the body that it feels no pain. Acting also as an analgesic, opioid drugs slow down the heart rate to dangerous levels. Decreased heart rate communicate calm to the brain, which further allows the body to relax. Abusing opioids in high doses can result in tolerance, dependence, addiction, and even death. Most opioid addiction doesn’t happen intentionally. People who become dependent upon prescription pain medication will often start using more of the drug because they need a higher amount to surpass the tolerance they’ve developed. A doctor cannot prescribe more doses than necessary. As addiction kicks in, a patient can use far more than the prescribed amount- creating a costly habit. Heroin is the next best option- cheap and easy to find. Today, with a widespread opioid epidemic rocking the world, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

Behavioral changes are the largest indicator of opioid addiction. There may be a marked change in the way opioid drugs are talked about. Usually medication isn’t a repeated topic of conversation. Look for the subject coming up more frequently, especially concern of when more of it will be available. In order to obtain and use opioid drugs, stealing can occur. Social circles may change to more drug-friendly peers, school work or job performance can suddenly drop, and there will be a sudden loss of interest in life outside of using. Extra time will be spent sleeping, as opioids create an effect called “nodding out”.

Symptoms of Opioid Addiction

  • Sudden and rapid weight loss
  • Change in demeanor and behavior
  • Pale or pasty skin, lacking in color
  • Smoking opioid drugs can result in blackened nostrils or mucus
  • Symptoms of withdrawal start to show, including irritability, discontent, flu-like symptoms, and “kicking” or muscle spasms
  • Pupils are constricted to look like pinholes

Confronting a loved one about opioid addiction is intimidating. If you are concerned you or a loved one may have a problem with opioid drugs, call Refuge Recovery today 323-207-0276.

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