What Are the Signs of Opioid Addiction and Abuse?

Severe opioid abuse is gripping the country. More than 100 people die each day in the United States from opioid-related overdoses. When a person is struggling with addiction and dependence, the risk of overdose increases. Knowing the signs of abuse can help a person support a loved one who is struggling but not sure how to seek help.

Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is characterized by a compulsive use of the drug and lack of control. Urges to use opioids are so intense, it may be hard to stop. Continued use of opioids in spite of major consequences is the ultimate sign of addiction. Opioids include, but are not limited to:

  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone

A huge step in overcoming addiction is knowing the signs but they are not always up front and apparent. It may be difficult to notice. Though the signs are subtle, they will present themselves and be noticeable.

Behavioral Changes

The first thing many families notice are behavioral changes. The person avoids making eye contact with friends or family, experiences mood swings, becomes irritable, and is nervous or euphoric. Abrupt energy changes in the person are noticeable and they may become hostile without warning. They will likely:

  • Stop finding joy in things they used to enjoy
  • Engage in secretive behavior
  • Become increasingly isolated
  • Hide things
  • Steal
  • Act differently enough that it sets off red flags

Physical Changes

Opioids use changes the body in many ways. The person will experience weight loss or weight gain. They may slur their words or have a raspy voice. Their breathing is slower than normal and they will look uncoordinated or unbalanced when they walk. Other physical signs or changes include constipation, smaller pupils, decreases in sexual desire, flushed skin, drowsiness, and needle marks that may appear on their body. Other signs of use include:

  • Sense of being drowsy or distant
  • Seeming detached
  • Lack awareness of people and things around them
  • Inattentive and no longer interested in usual hobbies
  • Problems with memory
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Slow to respond to questions
  • Problems remembering appointments or paying attention to loved ones
  • Not paying attention to personal hygiene
  • ‘Doctor shopping’ or not moving on to heroin use
  • Withdrawal symptoms pop up that seem flu-like but more severe

Treatment for addiction to opioids falls into a range from medically supervised detox programs to medications, therapy, and rehab. The best place for a person with severe addiction to be is in a rehab program that lets them detox safely then supports their journey to recovery from that day forward.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.