10 Signs of Opioid Addiction

According to the National Institute on Opioid Abuse, if you experience the urge for the drug on a daily or multiple daily basis, it could be a sign of addiction. Other aspects of your life take a back seat to your opioid use. Without it, you don’t feel normal. You may use it to cope with stress or anxiety and feel you need it to get through each day.

If these symptoms appear in your life — or in the life of someone close to you — it may be time to seek therapy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting clean; with so many options, you may choose what works best for you and gives you the best chance of long-term recovery.

You’re consuming Opioid for a longer duration than you intended.

The most crucial thing to remember is that all drug use, including prescription opioid addiction, begins with a decision. You’ve had a tough day and need to take some medication to feel better. Then it becomes second nature—not just taking the prescription when you’re anxious, but doing it daily. If you have underlying mental health concerns like depression or anxiety, or even chronic pain, this process can be sped up.

You want to quit but can’t

  • You want to quit, but can’t.
  • You can’t control how much of the drug you use.
  • You continue using it despite knowing it is causing you problems.

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, it’s possible that your opioid use is more than just a passing fancy. But don’t worry—addiction is a treatable disease, and there are many options available to assist you.

You spend a large amount of time to getting, using, and recovering from the substance.

A lot of time is spent on activities relating to using opioids. You may spend a lot of time:

  • Making or receiving phone calls to get, arrange for delivery, or pay for the drug
  • Driving around looking for someone who sells drugs
  • Preparing your environment and setting the mood for use
  • Taking the drug, waiting for and monitoring its effects, and recovering from its effects (for example from a hangover)

You’ve given up important social, work-related, or leisure activities because of your drug use

When a person gives up significant social, work-related, or leisure activities because of their drug usage, this is one of the most telling indications of opioid addiction. As a person’s drug usage increases, their priorities shift, and drug use takes precedence over other aspects of their lives.

Opioids can cause people to lose interest in hobbies, sports, or leisure activities, as well as social events that do not entail drug usage. Because they are no longer interested in spending time with their family and friends, people may separate themselves from them. Opioid abusers may cease taking part in things they once enjoyed, such as sports teams, clubs, or even going to school.

Your use has caused problems in relationships with others

You’re missing work or school, and you’re falling behind on your studies. Or maybe you’re not showing up for social events or spending time with friends and family because you’d rather stay at home and use drugs. This is a sign that your opioid addiction is causing problems in your relationships with others.

Don’t be afraid to ask those closest to you if they’ve noticed any warning signs of drug abuse in your life lately. Their observations may be helpful, especially if they’ve noticed changes in your behavior that don’t seem like the old you anymore. If they notice things like financial problems, falling out with family members, or becoming more secretive about how you spend your time, then it might be time for an intervention—or at least a talk about what’s going on in your life so that they can better understand how to help you through this.

Your drug use puts you in dangerous situations

You may find yourself in compromising situations because of your drug use.

In these situations, you might drive while under the influence, or put your health at risk by sharing needles. You could also have problems paying bills and taking care of other responsibilities.

These behaviors can lead to serious health consequences beyond the risks of opioid addiction itself. For example, driving under the influence increases your risk of motor vehicle accidents and injuries. Sharing needles during injection drug use puts you at risk for contracting infectious diseases such as hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV/AIDS.

Your tolerance has increased so that you need more of the substance to get high.

Tolerance is when the body becomes accustomed to a drug and requires increasingly larger amounts of that substance to feel its intended effect. Therefore a user will often increase their dosage in order to continue feeling high. Tolerance can lead to addiction, which occurs when the substance becomes necessary for normal functioning because of physical or psychological dependence.

The following are signs that tolerance may develop:

  • The need for more of the drug than originally intended in order to feel its effects
  • Taking the substance more frequently or for longer periods of time than planned

You have withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop using opioids.

One sign of opioid addiction is that you have withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop using opioids.

These symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches

Withdrawal symptoms are often the opposite of the effects the drug has on the body. For example, if an opioid makes you feel sleepy or tired, withdrawal from it can cause insomnia and agitation. Withdrawal from opioids can be severe and life-threatening. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately.

You continue using despite knowing it will cause problems.

It can be a harsh wake-up call to realize that you have a problem and, while your brain may already know this at some level, it may still feel like an insurmountable one. It’s hard to admit that you need help. But if you’re aware of the negative things happening in your life because of opioid use and yet continue using drugs anyway, then it is officially time to ask for help.

Unfortunately, there are people who will try to make excuses for their drug use or deny that there even is a problem. If this describes you (or someone you love), think about these questions: How important are these substances in my life? Do I think about them often? Do I avoid other things so I can do them instead? If my loved ones knew what was going on, would they be upset with me or proud of me? Am I in control of my use or am I controlled by it?

The answers to these questions may not be easy to face, but when you finally decide to get treatment, you’ll realize that this was an essential step towards recovery.

These are some signs that can show an unhealthy relationship with drugs.

some red flags that can give you a head start in spotting the signs.

  • You’ve stopped taking your medications as prescribed
  • Your boss or doctor has noticed that you’re not responding well to their advice after discussing your medication
  • You have more money than usual coming into your bank account each day, and you’re spending more than usual
  • When someone around you dies, you feel like they died because of drug use.

It’s important to get help if you think that you or someone else is struggling with drug abuse. The sooner drugs are a serious problem and addressed, the better it is for both the user and those around them.