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10 Signs Of Opioid Use Disorder

10 Signs Of Opioid Use Disorder

Article Contents

Opioids are a class of drugs primarily used to manage severe or chronic pain. Known as painkillers, many develop an opioid use disorder from prescription pain medications designed for pain management.

Here is a list of commonly abused opioids:

  • oxycodone
  • ​methadone
  • ​codeine
  • ​fentanyl
  • hydrocodone
  • ​morphine
  • heroin

While there are prescription opioids, there are also illegal drugs such as heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl that can be abused. These are extremely dangerous and can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and an opioid overdose.

In order to help you become more familiar with opioid use disorder, we’ve established a list of signs to be on the lookout for when you believe a loved one is suffering from this particularly dangerous and destructive substance use disorder.

1. Isolation From Family & Friends

Feelings of guilt and shame may overwhelm the person with substance abuse. They may retreat into themselves, isolating themselves from friends and family. They may try to manage their opioid withdrawal on their own in order to maintain their secret.

As the addiction continues, the person may use higher doses. When this happens, the drug abuse may become noticeable to others.

2. Making Mistakes On The Job Or At School

Those with an opioid addiction may become so accustomed to drug use that they begin to abuse drugs at school or on the job. This can cause the person to make frequent mistakes.

Many jobs require constant attention, and if someone becomes easily distracted, dangerous situations can occur, putting yourself, your co-workers, and the customers at risk.

3. Prioritizing Opioid Use Over All Else

The person participating in opioid abuse may develop cravings for the drug. Their entire world may eventually revolve around obtaining the next prescription opioid. When this happens, the person will spend their time, money, and energy to achieve the effects of opioids.

4. Stealing From Family Or Friends

Financial problems can develop due to the use of opioids. You might notice the person selling their items or constantly asking for money.

Opioid use disorder and opioid misuse can cause the person struggling to turn to drastic measures in order to fund their drug abuse. If you notice your valuables or money are missing, it might be possible that your loved one is stealing from family and friends.

5. Decreased Libido

Sometimes those taking opioids or illicit drugs may develop a decreased libido. If your spouse is no longer interested in sex, it’s possible that the addiction has them focused solely on their drug misuse.

6. Changes In Sleep Habits

You might begin to notice that a person with an opioid use disorder may develop sleeping habits that are unusual. Depending on the dose, a person may sleep for hours or become restless without their drugs due to physical dependence.

7. Lethargy

Not only will someone addicted to opioids feel lethargic and have a lack of energy, but they’ll also likely develop increased drowsiness which can be a strong indicator of opioid dependence.

If you notice that your loved one is constantly in a sleepy state, they may be experiencing side effects from the drugs.

8. Constant Cravings

Taking high doses of an opiate can lead to constant cravings and make addiction treatment more difficult. Your loved one may skip out on family functions or even leave events prematurely because of their cravings.

Addiction impairs the free will and decision-making abilities of the person struggling with the substance use disorder.

9. Weight Loss

A person abusing opioids may experience weight loss. This can be due to the fact that constipation is one of the symptoms of opioid misuse. It’s also possible that the person has become addicted to the point that they crave the drug more than food.

10. Overdosing

If other signs of opioid use disorder aren’t noticed by family and friends, know that many times they won’t be aware of the situation until a medical emergency such as an overdose occurs.

Once an overdose happens, the person with the addiction can no longer hide it. An overdose is a clear sign of drug abuse which requires detoxification and opioid treatment.

Treating Opioid Use Disorder

If you or a loved one are affected by the opioid epidemic, it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible in order to avoid withdrawal syndromes and overdose deaths.

We have inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for you to participate in. Opioid treatment programs may also include medications to reduce cravings and dependence, including buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone.

Call our helpline today to speak with one of our professionals who can help.

Written by Recovering Champions Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

American Society of Anesthesiologists - Opioid Abuse
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Opioid Basics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Opioid Overdose
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Opioid Use Disorder

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