Addiction Treatment
Addiction Treatment

Recognizing the Need for Opiate Addiction Treatment

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Medically reviewed: 02/14/2019
Last updated: 05/13/2019
Author: Medical Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Both heroin use and prescription drug use can develop into an opiate addiction when used on a long-term basis. While it may be easy to recognize the need for opiate addiction treatment when abusing heroin, ongoing prescription drug use may not seem like an issue of concern.

In actuality, the symptoms of a developing addiction remain the same regardless of the type of opiate drug a person takes. Withdrawal symptoms, physical and psychological symptoms as well as changes in a person’s overall behavior are all signs that a person may need opiate addiction treatment.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiate Addiction Treatment

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Opiates include both legal and illegal drug types. Heroin, opium, Demerol, oxycodone and several other types of prescription pain relief medications all fall within the opiates category. People who’ve taken opiates for a week or longer may start to experience certain symptoms when a dose is missed or when taking smaller doses than usual.

Some of the symptoms experienced may include:

  • Achy muscles
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach cramps

These symptoms develop when the brain starts craving larger dosage amounts than usual. With ongoing use, opiate addiction treatment may be needed to break the body’s dependency on the drug’s effects.

Physical Signs of Opiate Addiction

With ongoing drug use, physical signs of opiate addiction tend to persist for as long as a person continues to use, according to Semel Institute. These signs may include:

  • Decreased pupil sizes
  • An overall feeling of fatigue or exhaustion
  • Constipation
  • Excess sweating
  • Losing consciousnesses on a frequent basis

Since opiates work as central nervous system (CNS) depressants, these signs result from sedated CNS functions. Opiate addiction treatment works to rebalance CNS functions and restore the body’s chemical processes back to normal.

Psychological Signs of Opiate Addiction

Just like opiates depress or slow down processes throughout the body, opiates also depress cognitive functions within the brain. Cognitive functions include emotions, thought processes and reasoning abilities.

If someone is experiencing the following signs, he or she may be in need of opiate addiction treatment:

  • Depression
  • Confused thinking
  • Mood swings
  • Problems sleeping
  • Easily distracted
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor decision making abilities

Changes in Behavior

As addiction takes hold in a person’s life, his or her attention, motivation and behavior all tend to center on getting and using drugs. Unusual changes in a person’s behavior are a clear sign that opiate addiction treatment is needed.

Behavior changes to watch out for include:

  • Doctor shopping
  • Pharmacy shopping
  • Worrying about prescription refill allowances
  • Hiding medications
  • Stealing
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Opiate addictions tend to take on a life of their own, driving addicts to take out of the ordinary risks while neglecting important relationships and responsibilities. The type of care offered in an opiate addiction treatment program uses medication therapies and behavioral treatment approaches to help recovering addicts recover from opiate effects. The overall goal of opiate addiction treatment works toward breaking addiction’s hold over a person’s life and restoring his or her sense of self and purpose

Without receiving needed treatment care, addicts are left at the mercy of the drug’s effects, which only grow worse with time.