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What are the warning signs of opioid abuse and addiction?

Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin and prescription pain medication such as hydrocodone. Prescription opioids are used to treat mild to severe pain, and pain medication and heroin are abused for the euphoric effects they create. The abuse of opioids happens quite quickly, and most people who are prescribed prescription opioids who start to misuse them will become addicted to them. Many prescription opioid users are also dependent on opioids because of remaining on the drug for longer than required. The continued patterns of opioid misuse quickly lead to addiction, which becomes difficult to overcome without the proper help. Early intervention is also the best way to prevent people from becoming addicted to opioids. Most people who started abusing opioids either began with a prescription or got the drugs from someone they know, such as family or friends. Early prevention also involves getting rid of unused medication and properly disposing of it.

When someone does become addicted to opioids, it is good to know how to identify the addiction and what you can do to help them. There are some early warning signs that family and friends can look for. Some of the more common physical and behavioral warning signs to watch for include needle marks on arms and legs from intravenous drug use. Opioids users will also have constricted pinpoint pupils and will have trouble staying awake or falling asleep at inappropriate times. The symptoms also include flushed and itchy skin, withdrawing from social activities and rapid mood swings. Opioids addicts also engage in impulsive actions and decision making, which is often risk-taking behavior. It is also not uncommon to visit multiple doctors to obtain more medication illegally. Once a problem with opioids has been identified, it is essential to find immediate help. Most opioid drug users are in denial about their problem, and will often need intervention to help understand the importance of treatment.

Connected with opioid use are many short-term and long-term side effects, and depending on how much of the drug is being used, these side effects are both mild and severe. The immediate side effects of painkiller use include relaxed state of mind and body, feelings of calmness, increased or false confidence, slowed and shallow breathing, impaired judgment, itchy, flushed skin, hallucination, blurred vision, and weight loss. Many opioid users remain on these drugs longer than needed, and there are dangerous long-term side effects and problems to look for. The most damaging long-term side effects of opioid abuse are harm to the body’s vital organs. Some of the long-term damage includes vein damage from intravenous use, emotional instability, depression, liver damage, and insomnia. Recognizing opioid addiction is the best way to know when to intervene and help the addict.

If you start to notice they are taking more significant amounts of medication than prescribed, consuming a drug that was not prescribed to them, or mixing the medication with another substance such as alcohol, this is a problem, and they need help. The consequences of opioid abuse result in losing your job, becoming financially unstable, criminal charges, and damaged relationships. Drug rehabilitation is the only successful way to help an opioid addict overcome his or her addiction.

Opioid Addiction Detox and Rehabilitation

Noticing the signs of addiction is important because it prevents overdose, and the family can take action to get their loved one into treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdose deaths in the United States rose 4.6% in 2019 to 70,980, including 50,042 involving opioids. Rehabilitation is essential, and the first step with treatment is detox. Medical detox providers offer some of the safest options for opioid addicts. Medical detox uses withdrawal management and medication to control and ease withdrawal pain. Opioid withdrawal is dangerous and causes painful withdrawal symptoms.

When you take opioid medication for a long time, your body becomes desensitized to the effects. Prolonged use of the drugs changes the way nerve receptors work in the brain. Also, these receptors become dependent upon the drug to function. Medical detox providers help opioid addicts through the difficult withdrawal symptoms and make a smooth transition into a treatment center. Medical detox should not be considered the only treatment approach because it will not provide enough counseling or therapy. The next phase of rehabilitation involves attending inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation.

Residential treatment is the best option because more services are provided to addicts and their families. Long-term inpatient centers usually last three to six months, whereas short-term programs last three to six weeks. Typically, an addiction assessment would help determine what length of time is needed to address the addiction. Outpatient treatment is also an effective option and is a useful aftercare approach. Overall, rehabilitation should be well-rounded to address all the needs of the addict and their family.


Opioid Addiction Family Intervention

Convincing an opioid addict they need help is not easy, and it is challenging to help a loved one struggling with addiction. Someone struggling with addiction may not see they have a problem or acknowledge it. Professional intervention is a focused approach, and with the help of a certified interventionist, it makes it easier to accomplish the goal. A family intervention presents the addict with a structured opportunity to make changes before things get worse. Also, it can motivate the addict to seek or accept help.

Intervention is a carefully planned process that is done with family and friends and the help of a professional interventionist. A family intervention provides specific examples of destructive behaviors and their impact on the family and addict. Also, it offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear steps, goals, and guidelines. Someone struggling with addiction may not always recognize they have a problem or ask for help, and professional intervention helps them understand and get the help they need.

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