The signs of opiate addiction are difficult to recognize, and addicts are quite adept at hiding the evidence. Many people take prescription painkillers for chronic pain and don’t always follow their physician’s dosing instructions as carefully as they should. They discover they need more of the medication is get the desired effect. Unfortunately, by the time they realize they are dependent or addicted, the addiction has progressed enough to require professional treatment.
Overlooked Signs of Opiate Addiction
Studies show up to 1 in 4 patients misuse his or her opioid medication. Some of the ways they manage to gain additional doses include:
- Running out of the medication earlier than they should
- Accessing the medication from friends or family
- Doctor-shopping to obtain additional prescriptions
- Not taking the medication according to directions
Furthermore, if the above resources don’t work out, some people resort to buying illicit drugs such as heroin to get the level of relief they need. As a result, the increasing numbers of heroin addictions, overdoses, and deaths has skyrocketed to epidemic proportions.
The heroin/opiate epidemic is a global problem, with no easy end in sight. Government programs spend millions of dollars each year on research, awareness and education programs, treatment programs, law enforcement, incarcerations, and burials.
What to Look for if Opiate Abuse is Suspected
Family members are inadvertent enablers of opiate addicts because they ignore, or are unaware of, the little warning signs that indicate their loved one is addicted to their medication.
Of course, no one should be accused of abusing their medication without reasonable signs that there is indeed a problem. However, if there is an indication of improper behavior surrounding the use of the drugs, some of the following symptoms have possibly already appeared:
- constricted pupils
- slowed breathing
- nodding off, or loss of consciousness
Here are 20 more signs of opiate addiction you should be aware of:
- denial/thinking that there is no problem
- inability to control drug use
- spending more time using drugs
- using all of their money on drugs
- letting bills go unpaid to use the money for drugs
- compulsive use of the drug
- lying about the extent of the drug use
- track marks or scabs and bruises, especially on the arms
- syringes and other paraphernalia
- unable to quit the drug use
- using despite the negative consequences
- financially, physically, or emotionally drained
- compulsive use
- using morning, day and night
- inability to maintain social relationships
- trouble at work or school
- trouble with the law
- using despite physical/medical complications
- no interest in personal hygiene
- little interest in social activities
It ‘s hard to approach a person about possible drug abuse problems, but ignoring the obvious will lead to further problems if the abuse continues. As a friend or loved one, you do not want to enable the addiction to progress. Eventually, an intervention will help the person recognize the problem and take steps to seek treatment.
Treatment Options for Opiate Addicts
Following the intervention, the individual is ready to seek treatment. At first, he or she will find a wide range of treatment options available. Although, the most highly recommended method is inpatient treatment. While in an inpatient facility, addicts are secure in an environment that is free of addictive substances. Also, highly skilled staff and counselors provide 24/7 guidance and monitoring, as needed. Furthermore, daily activities include skills training, exercise, counseling, role playing activities, nutritional guidance, and faith-based services if desired. In addition, other options include martial arts, music and art therapy, high school diploma or GED, and more.
In conclusio, inpatient rehab seeks to rebuild self-confidence and provide a level or skills and knowledge to help the recovering addict reintegrate into society as a sober, contributing citizen.