Opioid abuse is a major health issue that is plaguing the United States. According to information provided by the Council on Foreign Relations, most of the roughly 1 million people who have died of drug overdoses in the United States since 2000 were due to opioids. Additional data from the CDC shows that nearly 75 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2020 involved opioid prescriptions. Opioid abuse is rampant in this country, and it is ruining the lives of people from all walks of life.
In this article, you will learn about the signs of opioid abuse and how opioids affect the body. You will also learn the importance of finding the right opioid treatment center that fits your needs. The first step toward long-term recovery from opioid abuse is medical detoxification. Sequoia Detox is the Pacific Northwest’s premier detox facility. Our specialized opiate detox programs are evidence-based and proven to work. Call us today and begin your journey toward lifelong wellness.
How Do Opioid Medications Affect the Body?
In a discussion concerning the signs of opioid abuse, you first must learn how these medications affect the body. When administered, opioid medications flow through the bloodstream and to the brain. In the brain, opioid medications attach to proteins called opioid receptors. Opioid receptors are most commonly found in the brain’s nerve cells and the stomach, spinal cord, and other body parts. When these medications attach themselves to those specific receptors, they block pain messages sent throughout the body via the spinal cord. As a result, people feel a strong sense of relaxation and calm.
Initially, people who take opioid medications often experience symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed breathing and respiration
If used for longer than prescribed or abused, opioids can cause a loss of consciousness and dramatically slow breathing to the point that one stops breathing. If people have underlying medical conditions or are using other substances along with opioids, they may experience side effects that can threaten their life, such as coma and even death.
What Are the Signs of Opioid Abuse?
Many people who take prescription pain medications will normally experience common side effects like those listed in the previous section. Most people prescribed opioids take these medications responsibly and take the prescribed amount at the proper times. Additionally, users will consult their doctor if their condition changes or if the medication is negatively affecting their daily life. Even if these medications are taken as prescribed, there still is a possibility of dependence, and users will experience symptoms of opioid addiction. The most common opioid addiction symptoms are as follows:
- Changes in sleep habits
- Weight loss
- Frequent flu-like symptoms
- Decreased libido
- Lack of hygiene
- Changes in exercise habits
- Isolation from family members or friends
- Stealing from family members, friends, or businesses
- New financial difficulties
Other opioid abuse signs include the following:
- Taking opioids as a “just in case” measure even though no pain exists
- Pronounced and unexplained mood swings
- Changes in sleep patterns
Additional signs of opioid abuse include the following:
- Increased anxiety attacks and depressive episodes
- Abandoning work, school, and family responsibilities to procure and use opioid medications
- Shallow breathing and lowered respiration
- Physical agitation and increased irritability
Additionally, people experiencing opioid addiction symptoms engage in poor decision-making when under the influence of these medications. People addicted to opioids also borrow or steal other’s medications and engage in doctor shopping or going to multiple doctors to obtain opioid medications. In some cases, people who abuse opioids may try to obtain medications off the street or through websites. Unfortunately, those who are addicted to opioids run an increased risk of overdose. These include shrunken pupils, loss of consciousness, and unresponsiveness.
Recover From Opioid Abuse With Help From Sequoia Detox Centers
Opioid addiction can ruin the life of the user and their family. If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid dependence, today is the day to get help. Sequoia Detox Centers offers evidence-based opioid detox that will restore your physical and mental health. Our Washington medical detox centers are clean, safe, and state-of-the-art. Our experienced treatment staff utilizes time-tested interventions to ensure your health and well-being. Detox is the key to long-term recovery; call Sequoia Detox Centers today and start on the path to sobriety.