Opium has a long history that dates back hundreds of years. More specifically, people began to use it for medicinal purposes during the 7th century.
Fast forward to today and opioids have become even more common. For one thing, many doctors prescribe them to treat severe pain.
While effective, however, they do have potential side effects—addiction being one of them.
Want to learn more about how opioid addiction and dependence works? About the different symptoms? If so, you’re on the right page. We’ll be going over all that you need to know about the topic below.
So be sure to read until the end!
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a group of drugs that are naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Generally speaking, there are two types—those that are made by scientists in labs and those that are derived from the plant directly.
Aside from severe pain, they’re also effective for treating coughing, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
Warning Signs of Opioid Addiction and Dependence
Opioids are highly addictive substances. Over time, they can change the way the receptors work in your brain. That is, it’s not uncommon for people to become dependent on these drugs.
Here are a few warning signs to watch for:
- Losing interests in normal activities
- Lack of hygiene (e.g. not bathing, changing clothes, or brushing teeth)
- Spending time alone away from family and friends
- Changes in sleep habits
- Seeking the same medication from different doctors
Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal
Opioid withdrawal can cause a number of symptoms. Generally speaking, they will begin in the first 24 hours after you stop using the drug.
For example, an individual may experience restlessness, anxiety, muscle aches, excessive sweating, or inability to sleep. Eventually, it can also lead to rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting.
Treating Opioid Withdrawal
Mild withdrawal symptoms can be treated with medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Fluids and rest can also help.
Those with more intense symptoms, however, may require hospitalization. For example, their doctor may opt to give a drug to reduce the intensity of withdrawal.
What Should You Do If a Loved One Is Addicted
Assuming that your loved one is ready to seek help, the first step is to seek out a health professional. For example, you can ask your doctor for a referral to an addiction clinic (there are many board-certified physicians who specialize in these types of addiction).
Alternatively, you can refer them to America’s Rehab Campuses.
Dealing With Opioid Addiction
As you can see, there are a few different warning signs of opioid addiction and dependence. If anything, the most important thing is to offer your loved one the help and support that they need to overcome the situation.
Looking for more posts like this? If so, you might want to check out the rest of our health section!