Opiates are a class of drugs that includes both prescription painkillers and illegal narcotics such as heroin. They work by changing the way your brain perceives pain. Unfortunately, while opiates can be helpful in certain situations, such as after surgery, they can also be addictive. And once someone is addicted to opiates, their life spirals out of control quickly.
If you have a loved one who you think might be addicted to opiates, it’s essential to be aware of the signs to get them help.
Different opiate variations
The first step is to understand the different types of opiates that are out there. This knowledge will help you better identify if your loved one is using them. Many opiates are prescription drugs, such as:
- Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
There are also illegal opiates, such as heroin or fentanyl. What is krokodil? Krokodil is a dangerous and illicit opiate made from codeine. It’s usually injected, and it’s very addictive.
Physical dependence and tolerance
Opiates work by attaching to specific receptors in your brain. This reaction changes the way you feel pain and can produce a sense of euphoria. Over time, your body becomes dependent on opiates to function correctly. As a result, you may need higher and higher doses to get the same effects, a phenomenon known as tolerance.
If you suddenly stop taking opiates, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include:
- Muscle aches
While some of these symptoms are uncomfortable, they’re not typically deadly. However, there are some cases where people have relapsed after withdrawal and overdosed on opiates.
Here are some signs your loved one may have an opiate addiction.
Changes in behavior
If your loved one is addicted to opiates, including prescription drugs, you will likely notice changes in their behavior. For example, they may become more secretive and withdraw from friends and family. They may also start lying or engaging in criminal activity to get money to buy drugs.
You may also notice that their appearance changes. For example, they may lose weight, have sunken eyes, or always look tired. In addition, they may have needle marks on their arms from injecting drugs.
If you notice any of these changes in your loved one’s behavior, you must talk to them about it.
Changes in sleep patterns
One of the most common signs of opiate addiction is changes in sleep patterns. Opiates can make people tired and cause them to fall asleep for long periods. As a result, your loved one may start sleeping more or at odd hours.
In addition, people who are addicted to opiates often have difficulty staying asleep. As a result, they may have insomnia or wake up frequently throughout the night. You may notice that your loved one is always tired and has dark circles under their eyes. They may also seem disoriented or confused when they wake up.
Changes in mood
Opiates can also cause mood changes. For example, your loved one may become more anxious, irritable, or depressed. They may also have mood swings or act out of character.
In addition, people who are addicted to opiates may have trouble concentrating or making decisions. As a result, their work or school performance may suffer. Not only that, but they may also have memory problems and trouble focusing on conversations.
Decreased interest in hobbies
If your loved one is addicted to opiates, they will likely have a decreased interest in their hobbies. For example, if they used to enjoy hiking, biking, or going to the gym, they may no longer have any interest in these activities.
In addition, they may stop hanging out with friends and family. Instead, they may spend all their time using drugs or looking for ways to get more drugs. This disinterest in activities and people can signify that your loved one is addicted to opiates.
Finally, opiates are expensive, and people addicted to them often have financial problems. For example, they may spend all their money on drugs and have difficulty paying bills. In addition, they may start borrowing money or selling personal belongings to get more drugs.
Also, remember that opiate addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease. This means that even if your loved one stops using drugs, they risk relapsing. So if you’re concerned that your loved one may be addicted to opiates, it’s essential to talk to them about it.
If your loved one is using opiates, getting them help as soon as possible is essential. Opiate addiction is a severe condition that can quickly spiral out of control. With treatment, however, it is possible to recover.
If you’re concerned that your loved one may be addicted to opiates, talk to them about your concerns. If they’re willing to seek help, many options are available, such as detoxification, therapy, and medication.