What Are The Signs Of Opioid Abuse?

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People that abuse opioids undergo many physical and behavioral changes. Treatment programs for opioid abuse can help prevent damage from chronic opioid use, including deadly overdoses.

What Are The Signs Of Opioid Abuse?

Opioid abuse takes on many forms, but they all come with similar warning signs.

People that abuse opioids will show signs of physical change and behavioral shifts that lead to personal and professional troubles.

In general, a person that abuses opioids may undergo periods of highs and withdrawal that impact mood and energy levels. They may also become secretive or deceptive and neglect obligations.

Physical Signs Of Opioid Use

Opioids block pain receptors and slow down the central nervous system. People that take these drugs to get high will become sedated and may talk slower than usual.

When these drugs are abused, a person may spend more energy on getting drugs than on other concerns like personal appearance.

The following physical signs of opioid abuse include effects of the drug and secondary physical effects due to addictive behaviors.

Physical effects include:

  • drowsiness
  • glazed eyes
  • slurred speech
  • commonly having flu-like symptoms
  • weight loss
  • tired appearance
  • poor hygiene

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Behavioral And Social Effects Of Opioid Abuse

Opioid drugs have strong effects on the body’s ability to regulate mood and behave “normally”.

Extended opioid abuse can permanently change the way a person makes decisions and interacts with their surroundings.

When opioids are being abused, the way a person behaves and interacts with others may change when they are high or feeling the effects of withdrawals.

Some behavioral signs of opioid use disorder may include:

  • mood changes
  • irritability
  • decreased libido
  • financial trouble
  • stealing
  • isolating from friends or family
  • trouble with the law
  • missing work or school
  • being unable to control opioid use
  • changes in sleep or exercise habits

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Signal Opioid Abuse

A range of physical and behavioral issues that arise from opioid abuse are the result of opioid intoxication.

However, many signs of opioid abuse become apparent during periods of opioid withdrawal. Opioid withdrawals happen when a person becomes physically dependent on the drug.

Opioid withdrawal signs and symptoms:

  • anxiety and irritability
  • insomnia
  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • tremors and shivering
  • drug cravings
  • abdominal pain

Getting Help For Opioid Abuse Or Drug Addiction

Opioid abuse is destructive. If you or a loved one are addicted to opioids, it is possible to stop. Inpatient treatment can include medically assisted treatment to ease withdrawals and prevent relapse.

Behavioral therapies in both inpatient and outpatient settings can help people better address cravings and live without substance use.

Talk to one of our treatment specialists to learn more about the range of treatment options for every unique situation.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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