In the United States today, the opiate addiction epidemic is unsurpassed by any other addiction in history. Almost everyone knows someone who is abusing legal or illegal opiates. On the other hand, there are thousands of former opiate addicts who have completed detox and rehab and are enjoying a healthier, more productive lifestyle.
If you suspect someone is struggling with opiate abuse, what can you do to help? First, you should familiarize yourself with opiate addiction symptoms, withdrawal signs, and treatment options. In this way, you might be able to provide the exact information at the right time to help the person get into a treatment program.
Opiate Withdrawal Guide: Signs and Symptoms
Currently, there are hundreds of opiates produced legally and illegally. As a result, people suffering from chronic pain or illness often become addicted to their prescription painkillers and can’t afford or obtain the large quantities they require. Unfortunately, they turn to street drugs such as heroin because it is more affordable.
Ultimately, after repeated use, a wide range of withdrawal symptoms occur when their drug is withheld. These symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. In some cases, the withdrawals can become life-threatening.
The following guide outlines the most common opiate withdrawal symptoms experienced, some of them beginning within a few hours after missing a dose.
- Intense craving for the drug
- Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
- Chills, cold sweats
- Agitation, anxiety
- Aches in the muscles and bones
- Shaking, quivering
- Sleep problems
Opiate withdrawal symptoms become life-threatening after a prolonged addiction that has brought serious damages to person’s physical well-being. In many cases, these people are also struggling with a secondary addiction such as alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.
How to Recognize an Opiate Addict
Today, opiate addicts can be found where you’d least suspect, such as upscale neighborhoods where wealthy professionals make their homes. Mothers, grandparents, CEO’s, doctors, lawyers, no one, would suspect these individuals of drug abuse. So, is it possible to determine if someone is? The following behavioral signs may indicate opiate abuse:
- Using more of the opiate than prescribed.
- Needing higher doses or more frequent doses.
- Withdrawal symptoms appear after discontinuing the drug briefly.
- Do those symptoms force continued use of the drug?
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop using.
- Suffering problems in relationships or at work or school.
- Neglecting responsibilities or interests.
- Experiencing heart or lung problems.
- Financial problems, loss of employment.
- Obsessed with obtaining more of the drug.
- Legal problems.
- Driving or operating machinery while under the influence of the drug.
In addition to the above, there are also some psychological and physical symptoms that indicate the presence of opiate addiction:
- Increased alertness
- Sensitivity to sensory stimuli
- Constricted blood vessels
- Increased heart rate
- Sexual arousal
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anxiety attacks
- Lack of motivation
- Improved self-esteem
Opiate addicts are skilled at finding ways to fund their drug habit. For instance, if you notice items missing from your home, these may have been pawned to get money to buy illegal drugs. Likewise, an addict will come up with a variety of far-fetched reasons why they need to borrow money from you, or lie about how they spent what they had. All things considered, an addict has no shame. His or her main concern is obtaining more of the drug.
The goal here is to learn to recognize opiate withdrawal symptoms or opiate abuse signs to convince an individual to seek help before the damages become life-threatening.