Are you Addicted to Opioids?
Prescription medications are often where opioid addiction stems from. Despite this fact, doctors continue to prescribe them without always warning of the habit forming potential. When taken for pain, a person can quickly become tolerant to an opioid, which encourages them to take more. Soon, physical and psychological dependency can take root. At this point, stopping opioid use can cause withdrawal symptoms; the telltale sign of addiction.
Physical withdrawal symptoms experienced from opioid addiction can include hallucinations, chills, sweats, and even seizures. Anxiety, agitation and insomnia are common psychological effects.
Are you Addicted?
Addiction is an illness that any person from any walk of life can develop. Once addicted to a substance, the choice to continue use is out of your control. Opioid abuse changes the chemistry of your brain, so that you no longer consider the harm it may cause.
Here are some signs that you’re forming an addiction:
- You take more opioids than prescribed
- You take opioids more often than directed by your doctor
- You continue to request a prescription when you no longer need it
Of course, most people don’t want to be addicted to their prescriptions. However, all the willpower in the world won’t make it disappear once it has set in. Professional help will likely be necessary.
Detecting Opioid Addiction
To determine whether or not you’re truly addicted to opioids, a doctor will look for specific symptoms that characterize a substance use disorder. Using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, doctors can more easily identify an addiction.
The DSM measures are trusted by medical professionals to gauge the existence of a substance use disorder. Here are the 11 warning signs doctors look for:
- Compulsive use– You use more than prescribed or continue use for longer than suggested.
- Attempts to control– You constantly try to reduce your intake but are unsuccessful.
- Effort– You spend a substantial amount of time trying to obtain opioids.
- Urges– You experience strong cravings for opioids.
- Priorities – Drug use becomes your number one priority, over work, family, and other responsibilities.
- Interpersonal Issues – The drug use harms your relationships.
- Lack of motivation– You no longer care about your hobbies or personal interests.
- Unsafe habits– You use drugs despite potential danger to yourself or others.
- Health problems– Physical and psychological issues arise due to your opioid use.
- Tolerance– You require more opioids to achieve their effects.
- Symptoms of withdrawal– You experience physical and psychological side effects when you don’t take opioids, such as nausea, vomiting, irritability, and anxiety.
If you believe that up to three of these measures apply to you, then you may have what is considered a mild substance use disorder. If you can relate to four or five of these criteria, then your addiction is moderate. And if you’re experiencing more than six of these problems, you’re facing a severe opioid addiction.
What often starts as a temporary pain relief regimen can easily turn into an addiction. You can quickly build a tolerance to opioids when using them for pain management. If you fear you’re becoming tolerant of your prescription, or even addicted, here are the most common indicators of an opioid addiction:
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Issues at home, work or school
- Loss of interest in daily life
- Changes in behavior and mood
- Fluctuations in body weight and appearance
- Memory loss and trouble focusing
- Financial problems
- Change in social circle
- Ignoring loved ones
- Altered sleep patterns
If these red flags are all too familiar, it may be time to seek opioid addiction treatment. Most who acquire a substance use disorder don’t realize it until they try to stop taking their prescription.
You’re Not Alone
If you find that you’re one of the millions of people addicted to opioids, take solace in the knowledge that you’re not alone. Not including tobacco, over 20 million Americans have a drug addiction.
It’s important that you seek help as soon as you’re aware of a substance use disorder. The earlier you face your addiction, the less likely you will become one of the millions of people hospitalized each year. In 2011, five million emergency room visits were due to drug abuse. If that statistic isn’t scary enough, at least 100 people die from a drug overdose every single day.
No matter your financial or life situation, there is an addiction treatment option for you. Don’t become another statistic, get help today. To learn more about opioid addiction and recovery, call 800-821-3880 ( Who Answers?) today.