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What are the Signs of Opioid Abuse?

Opioid abuse is a major health issue that severely impacts people’s lives in the United States. According to data provided by the CDC, 75,673 people died from opioid overdoses in a 12-month period ending in April 2021. Additional information provided by the NIH shows the following shocking statistics:

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse these medications.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent of people using an opioid for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder.
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.

Opioid misuse and addiction are not only commonplace; it is life-threatening and tears apart lives. This article will further explore what opioids are, how opioids affect the body and the signs of opioid use and addiction. Most importantly, you will learn where to opioid addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are synthetic pain-relieving medications that are created in a laboratory. These pain relievers mimic the effects of naturally occurring opiate drugs such as heroin and morphine. Examples of opioids include the following:

  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Percodan
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine

These opioid medications are prescribed in different doses by doctors for a variety of applications. Opioids are commonly prescribed for people as a pain reliever after surgical procedures, and they are utilized for those with sports injuries as well as those who suffer from cancer. While these medications can be very effective when used as part of a comprehensive pain management plan, they are highly potent and can be extremely addictive if not closely prescribed and monitored by medical personnel.

How Do Opioids Impact the Body?

When taken, opioids travel through the bloodstream and to the brain, where they attach to proteins called opioid receptors. These receptors are found on the nerve cells in the brain, as well as the stomach, spinal cord, and other body parts. When attached, opioids block pain messages sent throughout the body via the spinal cord. As a result, people feel a profound sense of relaxation and calm.

While very effective in dealing with pain, opioid medications have side effects that can be unpleasant and can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Slowed breathing and respiration

If misused, opioids can cause a loss of consciousness and dramatically slow breathing to the point that one stops breathing. If people have underlying medical conditions or are using other substances along with opioids, they may experience life-threatening side effects.

What are the Signs of Opioid Abuse?

For many people who take prescription pain medications, the signs of opioid use are typical. Those who take opioids responsibly take the prescribed amount at the proper times. They consult with their doctor if their condition changes or if the medication is negatively affecting their daily lives. However, the high addiction potential of this medication will cause some to misuse them in ways other than the reasons prescribed by doctors.

Common signs of opioid abuse include taking medications when not in pain, pronounced mood swings, and changes in sleep patterns. Additionally, signs of opioid abuse include poor decision-making when under the influence of opioids, borrowing or stealing others’ medications, and going to multiple doctors to obtain opioid medications. Also, people who abuse opioids may try to obtain medications off the street or through websites.

Signs of opioid addiction often include increased anxiety attacks, depressive episodes, and abandoning work, school, and family responsibilities to procure and use opioid medications. Other signs of opioid addiction include shallow breathing, lowered respiration, physical agitation, and increased irritability. Unfortunately, those who are addicted to opioids run an increased risk of overdose. Overdose symptoms include shrunken pupils, loss of consciousness, vomiting, irregular or slow pulse, and unresponsiveness.

How to Find Opioid Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN

Opioid addiction is a very serious matter that needs to be immediately addressed. If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids, you need professional help. For opioid addiction treatment in Nashville, TN, Nashville Treatment Solutions should be your first choice. We provide outpatient rehab and partial hospitalization treatment that is evidence-based and individualized to meet your specific needs. Our experienced treatment staff has proven experience working with people addicted to opioids. We will provide you with the tools and support you need to break the vicious cycle of opioid addiction once and for all. Call us today and begin your transformation.