Opiates, or opioids, are a group of drugs derived from opium poppies. The two most commonly used opioids in Denver, CO, are heroin and prescription pain medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine. 

Doctors may recommend opioids for people with chronic pain. Unfortunately, these drugs can cause addictions that can be challenging to deal with. The percentage of the population addicted to opiates in the U.S. is about 5%, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This article explains how to tell if someone has an opiate addiction. 

Opiate Symptoms and Warning Signs

These can be classified into three groups: physical signs, behavioral or lifestyle signs, and withdrawal symptoms. 

Physical Signs of Opiate Addiction & Abuse

These are the signs of opiate addiction that you can spot through a physical examination of the body. If you notice the following symptoms, it could mean your loved one needs treatment and help to overcome their addiction.

  • Flushed skin. Some people may develop red and flushed skin after opioid abuse. This condition may be due to increased blood flow from the direct effects of opiates on capillaries, or a result of skin picking. 
  • Constipation. Opiates contain morphine, which slows digestion. For that reason, someone abusing these drugs can develop constipation very quickly. They may stop eating normally and even cease using bathroom facilities. 
  • Drowsiness. Opiates depress the central nervous system, slowing the heart rate, breathing, and reaction time. Subsequently, users may begin to feel constantly tired and drowsy. 
  • Dilated pupils. Opioids have an analgesic effect on receptors that control eye movement in the brain. Using them creates a sensation that everything you see is brighter and more visible. Over time, this might cause dilated pupils. 
  • Nausea and vomiting. When brain receptors detect opioids in the bloodstream, they trigger nausea and vomiting. 

Behavioral & Lifestyle Signs of Opioid Abuse

While the physical signs of opioid abuse are fairly easy to spot, emotional and behavioral changes might be harder to recognize, particularly if you have never used drugs. Here’s how to tell if someone is addicted to opiates by checking behavioral and lifestyle signs. 

  • Disconnecting from friends and family. Opiates cause addicts to develop an isolation syndrome that causes them to want to spend time alone.
  • Neglecting important tasks and duties. If someone you suspect to be abusing opioids stops taking care of basic chores like laundry and cleaning or avoids going to work, it might be time to help them fight their addiction. 
  • Erratic Behavior and Mood Swings. Just as they have a strong effect on the body’s pleasure centers, opioids can also affect someone’s mood and behavior. If anyone you love is struggling with an addiction to prescription painkillers like OxyContin or Vicodin, keep an eye out for aggressive behavior and verbal abuse.
  • Forgetfulness. When a person takes an opiate, their brain cells release dopamine. This neurotransmitter can cause individuals to develop short-term memory, according to studies. Opiate addicts tend to forget essential details like where they put their keys or what time they need to leave for a meeting.
  • Lying. Deceit is a habitual behavior among opiate users, who feel pressured to hide their addiction from others. They can tell all kinds of lies, ranging from exaggeration to outright fabrication. 

Withdrawal Symptoms of Opioids

Withdrawal signs are the observable reactions of someone who is in the process of stopping the abuse of an addictive drug. Opiate addicts trying to avoid the drug may experience flu-like symptoms. These may include muscle cramps, fever, chills, watery eyes, sweating, and a runny nose. 

Stopping the use of opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin can cause insomnia. Since these drugs have a sedative effect, they tend to alter sleep patterns. When your body becomes physically dependent on opioids, it can be tough to get a good night’s rest without taking more drugs.

The majority of opiate addicts at the withdrawal stage also experience anxiety. You can help your loved ones fight this condition by getting them anxiety medication prescribed by a doctor. 

Break Free from Addiction with Help from Magnolia Medical Group

Now that you know how to tell if someone has an opiate addiction, it could help if you point them to an effective solution for their problem. If you are in Denver, CO, our specialists at Magnolia Medical Group can help your loved ones detox safely by walking them through all the stages of recovery. Book your spot today and start the journey to break free from opiate dependency. 

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