According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 65,000 Americans died as a result of a drug-related overdose in 2018. Opioid-involved overdose deaths accounted for approximately 46,000 of these deaths. This national crisis affects not only the social and economic welfare of our country but also the health and safety of our loved ones.
In this brief article, we will discuss how to identify the warning signs of opioid addiction before it’s too late. If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, seek opioid addiction treatment in Tampa today.
Related: What Is an Opioid?
Recognizing the Difference Between Abuse and Addiction
Before we cover the physical and behavioral warning signs to look out for in identifying opioid addiction, it’s important to acknowledge the difference between opioid abuse and addiction. Not everyone who uses or abuses opioid painkillers, such as morphine or hydrocodone, will develop an opioid addiction. Opioid abuse is defined as any inappropriate usage of opioid painkillers, from mixing the prescription drugs with another substance to exaggerate or change the effects of the drug to taking larger amounts than what was initially prescribed.
Opioid addiction, on the other hand, is characterized by strong desires to obtain and use the drug despite any risks for negative consequences. The intense craving for the drug will overrule any level of self control an addict may have over resisting their degree of substance use.
Physical and Behavioral Signs of Opioid Addiction
People experiencing opioid addiction will exhibit physical and behavioral warning signs that can help identify whether your or a loved one is in need of assistance for addiction. The physical warning signs, which can be easily visually recognized, include:
- Needle marks on arms or legs from intravenous use
- Change in appearance due to poor hygiene
- Flushed skin
- Constricted pupils
The behavioral warning signs can be less recognizable, but it’s important to be wary of any sudden or drastic changes to normal behaviors. This can include:
- Impulsive decision-making
- Losing interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Being overly energetic or nervous
- Sleeping at odd hours or otherwise following an erratic schedule
- Getting into trouble with the law
- Missing deadlines or important events
Components of Addiction — The 3 “C’s”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a resource on recognizing the components of opioid addiction: the 3 “C’s” of control, craving, and consequences:
- Control: Loss of control is characterized by behaviors, such as reporting lost or stolen medication, seeking opioids from outside sources, withdrawal symptoms, and calling for early refills of medication.
- Craving: Craving or preoccupation with the use of opioids is associated with dismissal of treatments outside of opioids, increased pain despite lack of progression in their condition, and recurring requests for an increase in the amount of opioids they are taking.
- Consequences: Consequences encompass the continued use of opioids without consideration as to the negative side effects of their use, including a decrease in functioning, poor relationships, and over-sedation.
Because the consequences of opioid addiction can range from losing your job to criminal charges for possession of painkillers without a prescription, it is important to recognize the early warning signs that you or a loved one may need help from a professional. At Phoenix House Florida, we employ a “whole-patient” approach to drug addiction treatment in Tampa, which analyzes the needs of the individual and treats both the body and mind for addiction. This can include cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and individual counseling. For more information on how you could benefit from opioid addiction treatment in Tampa, contact us today.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, speak with a treatment specialist about opioid addiction treatment in Tampa. To schedule a consultation with Phoenix House Florida, please request an appointment today.
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