The nation’s opioid epidemic is a topic that’s frequently addressed on television and in social media, and for good reason. According to 2018 data gathered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the United States die every day after overdosing on opioids.
Opiates are a highly addictive type of drug, and are commonly prescribed to alleviate pain. Prescription pain killers such as oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl are among the many known types of opiates. Heroin, an illegal street drug, is also classed as an opiate. Because opiates are prescribed to alleviate pain for legitimate reasons, and because of its highly addictive nature, it’s possible to become addicted to opiates unintentionally.
If you’ve been prescribed an opioid to cope with pain, and you’re worried about becoming addicted, here are some signs to look out for
Developed a Tolerance
If you begin to abuse your opioid prescription, even without realizing you’re doing so, you will develop a tolerance to the drug. You’ll gradually need larger doses of the medicine in order to experience the same benefits.
As your tolerance for the medication grows, you’ll become physically dependent on the drug. If you haven’t taken your medicine, you’ll start feeling the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal: fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms.
Inability to Control Use
Impaired control over your use of opioids is another symptom of opiate addiction. As you begin to take more medication than prescribed, you may ask for (or steal) medication prescribed for someone else, such as a family member or friend. You may shop for doctors, trying to find another doctor to prescribe you more of the same medication.
Strong Desire for Opioids
Continued opiate abuse creates a psychological dependence, which will cause cravings of the drug. If you have a strong desire to take opioids, you may be in the throes of opiate addiction.
If you’re concerned that you may have developed an addiction to opiates, it’s important that you see your healthcare provider immediately so you can receive a proper diagnosis. An addiction specialist or healthcare professional can provide you with treatment options that can help.
Are you struggling with an addiction, or need help and guidance in recovering from one? A licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.