Opioid Abuse: How and When to Get Help
Opioids are so highly addictive that they have created a dangerous and deadly epidemic in the United States. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 2 million Americans abuse opioids and that more than 90 Americans die on average by opioid overdose every day. Individuals can become addicted to opioids so quickly that it can be difficult to notice when the line has been crossed over to opioid abuse. If you or your loved one is taking opioids, whether legal or illegal, make note of these signs and symptoms of opioid abuse and how to get help.
How Does Opioid Abuse Begin?
Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors, interfering with communication between the brain and the nerves in the body. This brings pain relief to people who are experiencing some type of chronic pain that over-the-counter medications aren’t strong enough to soothe. It also brings along a euphoric, relaxing feeling that can become addictive to users.
This euphoria is the release of a large amount of dopamine which triggers the reward system in the brain. The more this reward system is triggered, the more the brain craves it and deems it essential for survival. In short: opioids trick the brain into thinking they are required in order to survive.
Signs of Opioid Abuse
Any individual who uses opioids is at risk of becoming addicted to opioids. That is why it is so important to learn all of the signs of opioid abuse so that intervention can take place as quickly as possible before a deadly overdose occurs.
Physical Symptoms of Opioid Abuse
- Anxiety when not using opioids
- Small pupils
- Shallow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Slowed movements
- Difficulty balancing
- Marked weight loss or gain
- Unkempt appearance
Behavioral Symptoms of Opioid Abuse
- Inability to stop or slow use. Opioids are highly addictive. This makes it almost impossible for individuals to stop or slow their use, no matter how much they may want to. Opioids generally require medication-assisted treatment or a detox process including medication.
- Drug-seeking behaviors. When someone falls into an opioid abuse pattern, they may begin unusual drug-seeking behaviors. These include having multiple prescriptions for opioids by multiple doctors, filling prescriptions at multiple pharmacies or even purchasing opioids illegally from a dealer.
- Isolation. Individuals who abuse opioids are often very secretive about their use, which leads them to isolate themselves from friends and family. There may also be a change in social circle taking place to spend more time with other users or dealers.
How to Get Help for Opioid Abuse
Opioids are a powerfully addictive substance, making it very difficult for users to quit or stop using on their own. Quitting cold turkey can result in a number of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms — both physical and psychological — as well as intense drug cravings that could lead to a deadly overdose.
In addition, recovering from an opioid use disorder isn’t just about becoming sober. Individuals need to learn how to stay sober and treat the root of the addiction through addiction treatment. It can be difficult to figure out where to start, but there are a few ways to get help for opioid abuse and make a recovery.
Whether you are addicted to opioids or your loved one is, make sure to reach out. Beginning the conversation in a healthy and sympathetic matter can go a long way. Don’t be confrontational or judgemental — this could be the very thing that deters individuals from getting help.
Deciding to get treatment for opioid abuse involves a lot of unknowns, such as:
- Where is the treatment center?
- Will I have to travel?
- How far will I be from my family?
- How much does it cost?
- Will the treatment program resonate with me?
- What is detox like?
- Will it work?
This is why research is extremely important. The more an individual is able to learn about what is involved with the treatment process, the more comfortable they will become with going. If you or someone you love is looking for quick answers, give our admissions specialists a call. They are on-hand 24 hours a day to answer any questions and fully explain the treatment process, completely anonymously.
Think of All the Positive
Quitting opioids will improve your health and the quality of your life, however, it can be difficult to think that far ahead while in the throes of active addiction. Even though the detox and treatment processes may seem difficult or stressful, it is important to keep all of the positives in mind.
- More quality time with family
- No risk of a deadly overdose
- Better sleep
- More money saved
- A clearer mind
About Cliffside Malibu
Opioid abuse is deadly, however, the good news is that it is a treatable condition. Learning how to get help is one of the most important parts of learning about opioid abuse — it just might be the thing that saves a life.
Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for every client. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program also includes family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.
In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.
For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com