Opioid Addiction: What You Need To Know

Like other addictions, opioid addiction is a disease. It is not about a lack of willpower. In fact opioid addiction in a growing epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, two out of three drug overdose deaths are related to opioid overdose.

Opioids include drugs such as heroin and its synthetic counterpart called fentanyl. But, this range of substances also includes a wide range of prescription drugs that are designed to work in the body’s nervous system or in specific receptors in the brain for pain management. Unfortunately, American overdose deaths have continued to rise in the past decade. In 2017, there were more than 47,000 deaths attributed to opioids, with 36% of those deaths being related to prescription opioids. Commonly abused prescription drugs include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and more. 

Signs Of Opioid Abuse

If you or a loved one has been prescribed pain relievers and cannot seem to function without them, there may be an opioid dependence present. If opioid medications are interfering with daily life, it is time to seek treatment before the addiction becomes even worse. Addictions to prescription painkillers are not always obvious, but over time because these drugs affect the nervous system, there are some signs of substance abuse that begin to present themselves. John Hopkins shared this list of potential signs of opioid abuse that you can look out for:

Common Signs of Opioid Addiction

  • The inability to control opioid use
  • Uncontrollable cravings
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Decreased libido
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Changes in exercise habits
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Stealing from family, friends or businesses
  • New financial difficulties

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Similar to prescription substance abuse, heroin overdose and abuse has also been on the rise over the past decade and growth has been particularly strong in young adults ages 18-25. The body can build a tolerance to heroin over time, which leads to people seeking higher doses in order to feel the same effects. 

There are some signs of heroin addiction that you can look out for. These can include but are not limited to:

  • General hostility
  • Lying or covering up drug use
  • Frequent irritability and agitation
  • Isolation or avoiding loved ones
  • Increased sleeping, sometimes at odd times of day
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • General lack of motivation
  • Being short of breath
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Weight loss
  • Slurring of speech
  • Scabbing or bruises that look like signs of skin pricking
  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Track marks on arms and legs
  • Constricted pupils and/or red eyes
  • Extreme  or irregular itching
  • Delusions
  • Frequent or out of character mood swings
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Hallucinations or paranoia
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Possession spoons that look like they have been burned 
  • Needles or syringes, missing shoelaces, glass pipes
  • Abnormal hyperactivity followed by periods of exhaustion
  • Long pants and shirts in warm weather

Opioid Addiction Treatment Options 

There are effective treatment options for substance use disorders related to opioid drugs. At BrightView, our outpatient treatment program offers medication-assisted treatment to ease the sometimes debilitating opioid withdrawal symptoms. The drugs we use work with dopamine receptors, but do not have any narcotic effects. We do not prescribe methadone at our clinics and instead prescribe FDA approved medicines like buprenorphine, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), and naltrexone (Vivitrol).

Our program is designed to be effective in treating chemical dependency, along with the mental and emotional components that come along with the disease. Because we are an outpatient program, our goal is to help you maintain as many day-to-day responsibilities and activities as possible while receiving treatment. Each person who receives treatment for their drug addiction at BrightView works with their own personal case manager who will help them stay on track and work to remove any obstacles that may work against a positive treatment outcome. 

Putting An End To The Opioid Crisis

If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, you are not alone. This is a disease and there are treatment options that can help you. You deserve to feel like yourself again. Contact us today by calling 1-833-510-HELP. We have a caring team who answers the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Proven Treatment for Lasting Recovery from Addiction

Addiction is a disease. We treat it with medicine to help stop the symptoms, and we treat it with counseling and social support to help you move forward.

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