Opioid Addiction: Signs, Side Effects & Treatment

Opioids are prescription drugs frequently prescribed for the management of intense and chronic pain. They are perfectly safe when consumed as per prescribed doses and for the recommended duration. However, owing to the so-called “euphoric” effects of these drugs, Opioids are often misused and consumed in large quantities over a longer duration than otherwise recommended. This causes deadly Opioid addiction!  


It is important to check on signs of symptoms of addictive patterns early on. Timely intervention through a Colorado drug rehab facility that engages trained specialists becomes important to contain the problem before it causes significant damage. Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for when detecting Opioid addiction have been discussed below. 

Signs of Opioid Misuse to Lookout For 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms to look out for in order to detect an addiction include:

  1. Finishing a Prescription Early Time after Time: If a patient is finishing prescribed drugs early every time, there is a pattern to be noted. Although most addicts would wish to pass it off as a common “mistake,” when it happens repetitively, there is an addictive pattern to take note of. 
  2. Changes in Sleeping And Eating Habits: With addiction comes virulent changes in sleeping and eating patterns. There could be excessive sleeping or a total lack of sleep characterized by insomnia. Similarly, when it comes to eating habits, it could be anorexia or compulsive bulimia! The trends vary from person to person. 
  3. Problems with Task Completion: With addiction comes a lack of focus, lethargy, and similar problematic behavioral patterns. As a result, completing usual tasks that were simple and easy now becomes difficult. This could be tasking at home, school, office, or just about anywhere. It is primarily about the lack of concentration and focuses, translating to a lack of productivity, even when it comes to routine tasks.
  4. Social Isolation or Shifting Friend Circles: Addiction leads to social isolation. An addict may distance himself or herself from his or her regular set of friends. This could happen from the fear of being caught. Addicts often feel that sober people are not in a position to understand or appreciate their fears and concerns. Typically, they would now befriend fellow addicts! This is because they would feel better understood among them. 
  5. Mood Swings: Mood swings are common among substance abuse victims. They would be either in euphoria or depression for most parts of the day.
  6. The Habit of Stealing: Unauthorized purchases will warrant the requirement of emergency funds. This, in turn, would lead to the stealing of valuables or money in a bid to fund the addiction. If compulsive stealing habits are witnessed, it is perhaps time to call on an addiction hotlineimmediately!
  7. Quitting Hobbies: If your dear ones often indulge in hobbies that they are now shying away from, it’s time to sit up and take note. Checking on addictive behavioral patterns is important. 

Other more prominent physical signs of intoxication would include slurring, constricted pupils, nodding off, and apparent inebriation. Also, watch out for repeated visits to different doctors for fresh prescriptions or landing in the hospital in search of extra medications. 

Side Effects of Opioid Addiction

Some pronounced side effects of Opioid addiction include:

Short-Term Side Effects of Opioids: Some of the short-term side effects of excessive Opioid consumption include persistent and unexplained headaches, sudden feelings of euphoria, dryness inside the mouth, flushing, mental fog, drowsiness, itching, constipation, and lethargy. 

Long-Term Side Effects of Opioids: When consumed over a consistently longish duration, the side effects of Opioid addiction could prove to be more serious. Some of the more common ones include weak and brittle bones owing to calcium depletion, irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, the risk of heart attacks becoming more common, abdominal pain, hormonal imbalances that become difficult to control, and constipation that does not respond to laxatives. People who are under the influence of opioids develop narcotic bowel syndrome, which is characterized by severe abdominal pain and intense constipation. Depression is also common in Opioid addicts! 

Opioid Addiction Treatment 

Treatments for Opioid treatment should begin by acknowledging addiction as a medical condition. It is important to remember that addiction is like a disease or an illness. No social stigma or any form of shame is associated with it. Once the problem has been detected as an illness, finding remedies for it in the form of treatments becomes simple and direct. 

Withdrawal Symptoms: Abstaining from Opioids after an extended period of addiction could result in withdrawal symptoms that require medical management. Although none of these symptoms are life-threatening, they are intense enough to cause serious problems. Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, abdominal cramping, and so on.

Medications: Common medications used for managing these symptoms include methadone or buprenorphine. Both these medications help in managing withdrawal symptoms and also work towards reducing cravings. However, considering that there is a strong psychosomatic implication of every addiction problem, medications alone may not do the trick. 

Detox has to address the underlying reasons for getting into addiction in the first place. Behavioral counseling, therefore, is a strong recommendation. If necessary, this could be in-patient or out-patient counseling sessions with additional medication support. A combination of both helps in generating the desired results. There are specific counseling techniques for addressing problems like trauma, anger management, coping skills, relapse prevention, and communication skills. Treatment also involves personal-level counseling and psychiatric counseling. 

Choosing a Rehab for Opioid Addiction

Selecting the right drug rehab for addressing Opioid addiction is important. Consider choosing the best option from among the ones available at hand. If it is a residential facility you have opted for, the living conditions will have to be inspected well. Also, you need a holistic support facility for addicts and patients. There should be medical intervention coupled with psychiatric healing. 

A renowned facility with a great track record is always preferred. Check online for rehab centers that are located nearby and have a name and reputation to fall back on! Always ask relevant questions that are important for you before signing up. Remember, every case of addiction is different from the other and may require different kinds of careful attention. 


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