Opiate abuse or opiate addiction can be one of the hardest drug addictions to recognize. This is due to the fact that these drugs are often prescribed by a doctor. In other words, your child or loved one most likely has a prescription for his or her drug of choice. So, how are you to know when your loved one moved from using the drug as prescribed to abusing the drug?
It isn’t easy to do, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you missed some of the signs. The information below will educate you on important facts you need to know about opiate abuse. Once you learn the signs, you will know what to look for in your loved one.
The Intended Purpose of the Drug
Prescription opiates are often prescribed for patients to relieve pain. They are often prescribed after a surgery or after an accident. They are intended for temporary use and are not meant to be a long-term answer to pain. Unfortunately, many people become addicted by accident after taking these drugs for legitimate reasons.
Common Forms of Opiate Drugs:
- Oxycodone (Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet)
- Morphine (Kadian, Avina, MS Contin)
- Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
- Fentayl (Duragesic)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
Symptoms of Opiate Abuse
By paying careful attention to your loved one’s behavior, you can recognize an opiate addiction.
Look for the following signs in your loved one:
- An inability to stop taking the drug.
- A heightened tolerance to the drug.
- Extreme weight gain or loss.
- Excessive sleeping.
- Doing whatever it takes to get more drugs, even breaking the law or stealing from family members.
- Spending excess amounts of money on drugs.
- Loss of employment or a disregard for relationships. A general shift in the quality of life.
- Distancing from previous healthy relationships.
- New relationships they don’t want to share.
- Withdrawal symptoms when drugs are stopped.
These withdrawal symptoms could include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Vomiting, diarrhea and/or nausea
- Physical and mental discomfort
- Muscle and bone pain
- Involuntary leg movements
- Flu-like symptoms
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
If you recognize any of the above symptoms in your loved one and know they have had access to or are currently taking opiates, you can be pretty confident that they have developed an addiction. This is not a sign of weakness on their part, or on yours. Therefore, you should never feel that you have “failed” as a parent or caregiver because your loved one started abusing opiates.
Risk Factors for Opiate Abuse:
Anyone, no matter their station in life or background can become addicted to opiates. Yet, there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing an addiction.
They are as follows:
- Family history of drug abuse.
- People who are currently abuse alcohol or other drugs.
- Those with a mental illness.
Opiates and the Brain
Over time, opiates change the way the nerve cells in the brain operate. This is true no matter if the drug is given by prescription or taken without a doctor’s consent. The changes in the brain occur because the nerve cells in the brain become accustomed to the opiates. Therefore, when they are taken away, the body reacts by causing many of the unpleasant symptoms listed above.
Opiates are highly addictive and withdrawal from them is unpleasant, so if your loved one has an opiate addiction they want to overcome, the best way to help them is to get them into a quality rehabilitation facility.
Give us a call or come visit our Sober Living Center In Los Angles California