Opiates are one of the most powerful, strongest painkillers on the market. These include most popular drugs as oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. In fact, the street drug heroin also falls in this category. Opiates are frequently prescribed by doctors to help patients easily manage long-term or acute pain from migraines and headaches, there are many risks of continuous opiate use, including addiction. We are discussing below the most common signs of opioid addiction.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
Opids hold the number one rank as the most prescribed medication in the United States, according to research from the University of Pennsylvania. They’re highly addictive class of drugs that can relieve pain much faster and effectively for some, but can also lead to mental and physical addiction.
Opiates provide relief by latching onto opioid receptors in the brain, gastrointestinal system, and spinal cord. They actually change how you perceive pain. As these powerful medication work closely with the inner workings of your body, your may soon get accustomed to operating while being under their influence and may need these pills on regular basis to function properly.
What are the Signs of Opioid Addiction?
- Shopping for more medications
- Uncontrollable cravings to take the drug
- Use that leads to risks of overdose
- Use that’s having a negative effect on your personal relationships or finances
- Inability to control or tone down your opioid use
- Social isolation or withdrawal
Besides these physical signs, opioid addition may latch onto your life in many other ways. They work by triggering many reward pathways in your brain, producing euphoric feelings of relaxation and pleasure that ultimately lead to more carvings. Once of these drugs, users yearn for those happy feelings and start taking drugs not only to cure their pain, but also to return back to the pill-induced peace. Mental and physical addiction can easily devastate person’s life as they begin forsaking commitments and responsibilities in favor of getting high off opiates. Even prescription medications can result in devastating addition.
Once you stop taking opioids, you may start experiencing many symptoms of opioid withdrawal, including:
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramping
If you’re taking opioids and are desperate to stop its use, work with your doctor so that you can gradually wean yourself off these harmful medications.
Health Issues from Long-Term Use
You should not worry just about the opioid addition symptoms. In fact, many won’t become addicted to them, but they might experience long-term dependence that may ultimately lead to many health problems.
Regular use of opiate can lead to many health issues, including:
- Sleep disorders
- Hearing issues
long-term opiate use may also interfere with hormone system, researchers have found. A 2009 study completely by a team of UK researchers found that people taking opioids to reduce chronic pain experienced much decreased hormonal activity in their bone mass and reproductive systems, which can lead to fractures and osteoporosis.
There is a Risk of Overdose and Death!
There has been a steady increase in opiate overuse related deaths in the recent decades. In 2012, about 59,743 people died from prescription painkiller overdose, up from 39,436 deaths in 2009, according to 2014 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Opiates have been directly linked to 74 percent of those deaths.
Opioiod are the biggest factor in the death of people who intentionally take overdose or regularly use prescription painkillers to address their pain. However, some doctors may mistakenly prescribe inappropriate amount of this drug or maybe patient misreads their medication’s instructions and may accidentally take overdoses, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
All those who take opiates on a regular basis may gradually develop tolerance for them, meaning they would need ever-increase amounts to achieve the same effect. When they eventually stop taking them, their tolerance may drop again. If a person with lower tolerance takes the amount he or she was accustomed to earlier during the period of high tolerance, serious harm can happen to the body, including death.
How to Find Help?
If you’re really serious to manage opioid use, you’re not alone. Today there are thousands of people interested in some help, which has resulted in a vast array of resources to assist you in reducing number of painkillers you take or advise you strategies to stop most of them all together. I’m listing few tips on how to successfully manage your use especially if you feel you’re experiencing few signs of opioid addiction.
Slow Down your Opioid Use Strictly Under a Doctor’s Care
If you’ve been using opioids for a while to manage your pain, you will feel a physical addiction. Your body will get accustomed to working under the influence of these drugs and will need them desperately to functional normally. If you stop their use abruptly, you may experience opioid withdrawl. During this uncomfortable period you may experience vomiting, nausea, anger and anxiety. This period can last from 24-72 hours, according to the National Institutes of Health.
It’s possibleto alleviate these feelings by gradually decreasing the number of pills taken, in a process which is called tapering. Another option is to stop use of opioids completely, but its wise to take some other medication to lessen these side effects of withdrawal. Discuss this with your doctor to determine the best course of action for you.
In some cases, the pain specialist may combine multiple therapies to manage your pain. The best doctors try to combine interventional pain management treatments, lifestyle change strategies and complementary therapies to help relieve your pain.
Consider Safe Opioid Alternatives
If you’ve been using opioids for quite some time to manage your pain, know that there are many safer, healthier alternatives available now to help alleviate pain. These methods range of yoga to meditation to a healthy diet, based on whole, unprocessed foods, which can help lessen your pain and enhance your quality of life.
You can also use certain injecting medicines, also known as nerve blocks, that interfere with the nerves that send pain signals to the brain, as this approach may help reduce the amount of opioids you taken.
Talk to someone you can Trust
It’s helpful to talk to a person you trust, it can be a family member, some medical health professional or a doctor, as this approach will help you manage any overwhelming feelings you may encounter while trying to control opioid use. It can also help you find many new avenues of support.
Find the Right Support Group
Solicit support from local chapter of Narcotics Anonymous, or support groups formed by your local hospital or health center, because this can help you connect with other people going through similar issues.
For all those who prefer anonymity, support is available at AddictionSurvivors.org where they run an opioid-specific support group. Here you can find answers to most of your questions including ways to taper off opioid use. Here you can also access their 12-step recovery program without any need to attend their in-person meetings. Facebook based support is available from ChronicPainSupportGroup.com for all patients suffering from chronic pain.
Interested in finding a doctor with specialization in interventional approach to effective pain management, and one who can assist you in managing your opioid use, find pain doctor in your area.