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22 Commonly Missed Signs of Opioid Dependence

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Medically reviewed: 03/08/2019
Last updated: 05/13/2019
Author: Addictions LLC

Reading Time: 3 minutes

1. Depression is a common symptom of opioid dependence, especially in those who abuse opioids.

2. According to the NIDA, “People treated with morphine in the hospital for pain control after surgery” are not likely to become addicted to morphine but can become dependent.

Opioid Dependence

If you are dependent on opiates your body will crave them when you do not have them.

3. A runny nose is a common symptom of opioid withdrawal, often written off as a flu symptom (NLM).

4. Some people may feel that they need opioids to fall asleep at night. This often means they are dependent.

5. The same is true for those who need them to get out of bed in the morning.

6. Opioid dependent individuals alternate between hot flashes and chills if they stop taking these drugs.

7. Thinking about when you will get to use opioids constantly is a sign of dependence many people try to ignore.

8. Increased tearing or crying will occur when someone dependent on opioids stops taking them.

9. As stated by the NIDA Teen, “involuntary leg movements” are another strong sign of opioid dependence, especially if an individual experiences them when they stop taking opioids.

10. Constipation is a sign of regular opioid use and could be a sign of dependence as well, especially if the individual takes another medication to treat the constipation rather than stopping opioids.

11. As a result, diarrhea occurs when an individual goes through opioid withdrawal (the body is feeling the effects of the lack of opioids and recovering).

12. Tolerance often occurs along with dependence; if an opioid user starts to need more of the drug than they originally did, they are experiencing tolerance and, most likely, dependence as well.

13. If you constantly feel that you need opioids to get through the day, an important meeting, a class, or a stressful situation, you are dependent on them.

14. Opioids “block pain messages sent from the body through the spinal cord to the brain” (NIDA Teen). This is why muscle aches, as well as bone and join pain, will be experienced by those in opioid withdrawal.

15. Someone who stops caring about their appearance or personal care in the face of opioid use has become dependent. They are likely not interested in anything except taking more of the drug.

16. The NLM states that excessive yawning can be an early symptom of opioid withdrawal.

17. Many people become anxious or extremely upset if they cannot take opioids when they want to. This is a sign of opioid dependence that is often misconstrued as only a sign of addiction.

18. People who abuse opioids often take them with alcohol to fall asleep. This is a sign of dependence as well as being extremely dangerous.

19. When opioids become more important to a person than their job, family, and other aspects of their life, they are already dependent and likely to be addicted as well.

20. If you begin to consider new ways to get opioids that does not involve asking your doctor for help, you are dependent on these drugs and will need help to avoid abusing them.

21. Opioid dependence can cause a person to become very apathetic and unsatisfied with their life.

22. Oxycodone (and other opioids) can even cause fever during withdrawal, further mimicking the flu (CESAR).