Prescription drug abuse is common throughout the U.S. This abuse can involve a variety of medications. Some of the most common and profound sources of the problem are prescription opiate painkillers. How can you tell if someone is affected by opiate abuse? It is critical that you are all able to spot potential signs in yourself or someone else. Being able to do so will also help you determine if opiate addiction treatment in Edmonds, WA, or another locale is required.
Opiate-Related Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse
Opiates are sometimes also referred to by the broader category of drug to which they belong: opioids. Medications that belong to this category include morphine, codeine, and fentanyl. They also include hydrocodone and oxycodone.
What are the potential telltale signs of opiate abuse? The list of indicators you may notice in yourself or others includes but is not limited to:
- Taking an opiate in ways not intended by your doctor
- Modifying an opiate to increase the speed of its drug effects
- Using an opiate medication without a current valid prescription
- Borrowing or stealing an opiate from another prescribed user
- Using an opiate when you have no symptoms that warrant taking it
- Unusual changes in mood
- Altered sleeping habits
- An unexplained decline in the ability to think clearly or make decisions
Be aware that similar symptoms of prescription drug abuse are associated with other kinds of medications. In all cases, misusing your prescribed medication qualifies as a form of abuse. The same holds for using someone else’s medication, even if they have a valid prescription.
Opiate Abuse vs. Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller abuse is not the same as painkiller addiction. What is the difference between the two? When you misuse or abuse a medication, you may eventually become physically dependent on it. This means that your brain has come to rely on a certain level of its presence in your system. You must continue to take it to avoid the unpleasant state known as withdrawal.
However, by itself, physical dependence is also not the same as addiction. As a rule, you only pass the addiction threshold when two other problems are also present. The first of these problems is a psychological or emotional dependence on the medication in question. The second is an involuntary, compulsive urge to seek out and use more medication.
Signs of Painkiller Addiction
Doctors don’t diagnose painkiller addiction separately. Instead, they consider it part of an opioid use disorder, or OUD. The definition of OUD includes all forms of opioid and opiate addiction. It also includes non-addicted, harmful abuse of any legal or illegal opioid or opiate.
What are the diagnosable signs of addiction? Specific problems that may be present in an affected person include:
- Loss of control over medication intake
- Rising tolerance to a medication’s drug effects
- An inability to quit abusing a medication despite multiple attempts
- Making medication use a central feature of your day
- Not changing a pattern of abuse that you know is harming your health
- The onset of withdrawal if you quit or make rapid cuts in your level of use
It only takes two out of 11 possible symptoms to receive an OUD diagnosis. Some of these symptoms may be addiction-related. Others may indicate the presence of non-addicted abuse.
The Benefits of a Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Program
A well-designed treatment program will help you recover from prescription drug addiction. That’s true, no matter the extent of your symptoms. Recovery typically begins in a drug and alcohol detox program. This kind of program helps you halt your abuse and achieve initial sobriety.
You can then continue your recovery in a primary prescription drug addiction treatment program. There are effective treatment options for all addictive substances. The right combination of options will help make long-term recovery an achievable goal.