When you have surgery or suffer major injuries, your medical team may prescribe synthetic opioid pain relievers. Although they’re useful in treating moderate to severe pain, it’s possible to develop an addiction. Opioid addiction has become so rampant in the U.S. that some dentists no longer prescribe opioid pain medication after wisdom tooth extraction, which is often a younger individual’s first encounter with opioids and so is largely considered a gateway. Recognizing opioid addiction signs and symptoms can help you avoid the disease and its side effects, as well as know when it’s time to get yourself or a loved one into substance abuse treatment.

A man with a beard and mustache wearing a tie.What Is Opioid Addiction?

To understand opioid addiction, you need to understand opioids. These are partially or fully synthetic forms of opiates, which are derivatives of opium. Heroin and morphine, for example, come from the opium poppy plant. On the other hand, hydrocodone and oxycodone are semisynthetic, and fentanyl is synthetic.

Like opiates, opioids also create a sense of euphoria because they stimulate the reward system in the brain. Some people abuse opioids because they want to achieve this effect. However, many people use them as a pain treatment. Either way, individuals can develop a tolerance, needing to take more and more to achieve euphoria or pain relief.

Over time, that higher opioid tolerance can transform into a full-blown addiction. People with an addiction have a compulsive need for opioids even if they know the risks and want to stop. They could even engage in some very out-of-character activities to get more drugs.

Opioid Side Effects

Opioids have several negative side effects, but not everyone experiences them. Chronic constipation, small pupils, sleepiness, and nausea are the most common effects. However, some people experience chest pain, trouble breathing, and vomiting.

Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Many people take opioid pain medications as prescribed by their doctors every day with little to no issue but dependence can happen quickly, and it is so easy to fall into a full-blown addiction.

Since opioids stimulate the reward center in the brain, they motivate people to keep taking drugs. The brain associates taking opioids with pain relief and pleasure. Before people know it, they are fully dependent and exhibiting signs of addiction with no way to control themselves or their intake.

The three main ones are compulsive drug taking, increased use, and continued use despite the danger. Some people take more opioids than they intend, are unsuccessful at stopping, and lose interest in hobbies. Others experience withdrawal when they don’t get the drugs that their bodies crave. In any case, an individual struggling with opioid addiction cannot stop abusing the drugs, even if they may want to or wish they could.

Opioid addiction also causes changes that family and friends may notice. Those with addiction may neglect family, career, or school obligations. They could exhibit slurred speech and stop caring about their appearance. Some may exhibit anxiety, confusion, poor concentration, and memory loss. New or worsening problems may pop up in relationships, or at work, school, or home.

Opioid Withdrawal

As a sign of addiction, withdrawal can cause some uncomfortable and painful symptoms. A negative mood, sweating, and shaking are the most obvious. A lot of people also have joint and muscle pain, stomach cramps, rapid breathing, confusion, and large pupils.

Although withdrawal symptoms themselves aren’t life-threatening, they can be severe and very painful for the person experiencing them. They can also cause complications that can lead to organ damage, coma, or death.

Opioid Overdose

Taking high doses of opioids can lead to overdose, which may cause respiratory or cardiac arrest. These health conditions could result in permanent damage to the body or brain, coma, or death.

As people take more drugs to compensate for tolerance, the potential for overdose increases. It can also happen when they use the drugs to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Others may suffer an overdose when they relapse because they don’t lower the dose.

If you’re in danger of overdose or have overdosed, seek emergency medical help immediately. Many first responders and hospitals can administer naltrexone to reverse the condition.

Memphis Recovery Can Help You Stop Using Opioids

If you suffer from opioid addiction and want to stop using, Memphis Recovery can help. We offer several substance abuse treatment programs at our Tennessee rehab facility. Our strong family program addresses the individual needs of our clients and issues within their families. Other available programs include:

At Memphis Recovery, we customize our addiction treatment approach for each client. We don’t have a standard plan or treatment duration. However, most of our clients start off with our long-term inpatient rehab program. As a non-profit facility, we also don’t base treatment plans on whether or not insurance covers it.

Don’t let addiction control and ruin your life. Get the help that you need at Memphis Recovery. Contact us at 901-272-7751 now to speak with our friendly, caring staff.