The signs and symptoms of opiate addiction are not always visible. Unless you are in the presence of someone frequently, you may not notice the signs or symptoms of addiction to opiates. However, this does not lessen the fact that opiate addiction is one of the biggest problems in the United States today. Opiates have a vital role in today’s population with the pain that comes with so many chronic and terminal illnesses. No one disputes the fact that when used correctly and by those who need them, opiates can work wonders. It’s those who misuse these drugs, those who have no medical need for painkillers, those who only want to get high, that give opiates and opioids a bad name. Some individuals use them to relieve distress or anxiety.
Opiates and Their Effects
Opiates come from the opium poppy plant. Some forms of opiates are heroin, morphine, codeine, and thebaine. There are synthetic and semi-synthetic forms of opiates which are opioids used in many common painkillers such as:
It is important to note that all types of painkillers, opiates, and opioids (synthetic and semi-synthetic) are highly addictive.
Some of the short-term effects are pain relief, sedation, drowsiness, and euphoric sensations. Advantages of these drugs are
that they are relatively inexpensive and very effective at relieving pain. The feeling of euphoria is the main reason for
individuals wanting these drugs for non-medical purposes.
Some of the long-term effects of opiates include:
- Abdominal distention and bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Respiratory Depression
Tolerance and Opiate Addiction
Once an individual has been taking opiates for an extended period, they develop a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance means that it takes more of the drug, either a higher dosage or taking it more often than prescribed, to receive the same effects. Once this happens, you are well on your way to opiate addiction. One of the signs of this is the fact that you spend more and more of
your time trying to obtain the drug, so you can have the dose you need to feel the euphoric effects that you desire.
Individuals will “doctor shop” to get more of the drug than is necessary for their pain. Doctor shopping is when you go to different doctors in hopes of having them prescribe painkillers to you. This is not as common as it was a few years ago because of new state laws which have been passed to regulate prescriptions of narcotics.
Another way that individuals obtain the drugs without a prescription is either buying them on the streets or get them from friends or co-workers. These drugs are far more expensive on the streets than from a pharmacy by a physician’s prescription. This is why many times individuals will steal them from family members or friends.
When all else fails, and the individual is out of money and resources to procure the painkillers, they now turn to heroin. This
is why heroin has gained such popularity over recent years. Heroin has the same effects on individuals as opiates and is much
cheaper and easier to obtain illegally.
Signs You are Addicted to Opiates
Here are some signs you can look for if you think you or a loved one may be addicted to opiates:
- Taking more and more to achieve the same effect
- Spending time thinking about how to obtain the drug
- Not participating in activities enjoyed before opiate use
- Not successful in trying to taper off or quit
- Buying the drug illegally or stealing it
- No interest in family or friends
- Problems with dozing off or concentrating
- Losing interest in hygiene
If you have these signs of addiction, you need to seek out help immediately. All or any of these signs are cause for alarm.
Inpatient Addiction Treatment for Opiate Addiction
If you are concerned about a loved one’s opiate addiction, or your own, reach out for help. There are many sources you can go to and research different treatment programs and facilities. Inpatient treatment is the preferred method of therapy because with inpatient treatment, when the cravings and withdrawal symptoms come, you cannot slip back into your abuse by obtaining painkillers or heroin.
You will go through detox and withdrawal in a safe environment with a professional staff on hand to take care of any issues
which may arise, physically or emotionally. Following detox, you will go through your individualized treatment program with
counseling and group therapy. In inpatient treatment, you will learn the skills necessary to go back to your life as it was
before opiate addiction.
Don’t hesitate, get help for opiate addiction today.