Knowing the warning signs of opioid addiction is important because it can help individuals identify if they or someone they know is developing an addiction. In addition, early recognition of addiction can help someone get the help they need to prevent more serious consequences, such as accidental overdose and death.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain and can be either prescription or illicit drugs. Common prescription opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl. Common illegal opioids include heroin and illicit fentanyl.
Opioid Addiction Risk Factors
Opioid use disorder risks are related to a variety of factors, such as behavioral genetic, and environmental, such as:
- Family History of Addiction
- History of Mental Health Issues
- Previous History of Substance Use
- Being Exposed to Opioids at a Young Age
- Easy Access to Opioids
- Social Environment that Promotes or Normalizes Opioid Misuse
- Peer Pressure
- Chronic Pain Conditions
Common Symptoms and Signs of Opioid Addiction
Some of the common symptoms and signs of opioid addiction you need to be aware of include the following:
- Taking opioids for a longer period or in higher doses than prescribed.
- Doctor shopping to get additional prescriptions.
- Taking opioids recreationally or using them in combination with other substances.
- Snorting or injecting opioids.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using opioids.
- Experiencing cravings for opioids.
- Engaging in risky behavior while under the influence of opioids.
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school due to opioid use.
- Having financial or legal troubles related to opioid use.
- Keeping a “secret stash” of opioids.
- Hiding one’s opioid use from family and friends.
- Becoming irritable, angry, or aggressive when questioned about one’s opioid use.
- Inability to stop using opioids, even when one wants to stop.
Long-Term Health Effects of Opioid Use Disorder
Prolonged use of opioids can have long-term health effects as tolerance to the drug increases. As the body builds tolerance, a person must use a higher dosage of opioids to achieve the desired effects. Therefore, the risk of accidental overdose is increased.
Other long-term health effects can include increased risk of infections, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairments, and damage to the lunger, heart, and liver.
How Many People Die from Opioid Overdoses?
Opioid overdoses have become increasingly common in the United States, with an average of 44 people dying daily from prescription opioid-related overdoses, according to the CDC. In addition, more than 106,000 people died from illicit and prescription opioids in 2021, as reported by NIDA.
What are the Signs of Opioid Overdose?
- Loss of Consciousness
- Slow, Shallow, or No Breathing
- Bluish Color to the Skin, Lips, and Fingernails
- Cold and Clammy Skin
- Unresponsive to Verbal or Physical Stimulation
- Unusual Snoring or Gurgling Sounds
If you suspect someone has overdosed on opioids, it is imperative to call 911 immediately. However, it may still be possible to save the person using naloxone to counteract the overdose.
Opioid Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
When the effects of opioids wear off, a person goes into opioid detox. Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms one can experience include the following:
- Muscle Aches and Pains
- Abdominal Cramps
- Intense Cravings for Opioids
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Uncontrolled Yawning
- Runny Nose
- Watery Eyes
- Blurred Vision
Opioid Detox Timeline
The timeline for opioid detox can vary depending on the individual and the type and amount of opioids used. Generally, the withdrawal process can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. During this time, seeking medical detox at a medical detox center is essential, as withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening.
Withdrawal symptoms can appear within 6 to 12 hours after the last dose. During the first 24 hours to 3 days, one can experience anxiety, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, watery eyes, and uncontrolled yawning.
The existing symptoms will continue to intensify, and new signs will appear until they peak, sometimes during days 4 to 7. These new symptoms include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and insomnia.
After about a week in detox, a person may start feeling restless, depressed, anxious, or irritable. In addition, their cravings for opioids can still be intense. They may also notice they have problems concentrating, focusing, and sleeping.
Furthermore, people that used opioids longer-term or in high doses could experience hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. All of the physical withdrawal symptoms should subside within two to three weeks after stopping opioid use.
However, some people can continue to experience the psychological effects of withdrawal called PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome). PAWS can last for several weeks, months, or even longer. Therefore, it is crucial to continue treatment until these symptoms subside.
Benefits of Opioid Detox at a Rehab Center
- Medical Support: Detoxing from opioids can be a dangerous process, and having the support of medical professionals to monitor the process can make it safer.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment: Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms during detox.
- Mental Health Support: Detoxing from opioids can be a difficult and emotional process, and having access to mental health professionals can make it easier.
- Structure and Support: Rehab centers provide structure and support that make it easier to focus on recovery.
- Access to Other Treatment Options: Rehab centers can provide access to other treatment options, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-step programs, which can help with long-term recovery.
Opioid Addiction Detox and Recovery in Murfreesboro, TN
When you want help to stop using opioids, help is available at Tulip Hill in Murfreesboro, TN. We provide a safe, caring, and supportive environment to start your detox and rehab treatment tailored to your specific needs. To learn more about our opioid treatment programs or to start yours, contact us today.