You may know him or her well. They may live next door to you, work in the next office or pass you in the grocery store. A person addicted to prescription painkillers may not be who you think they are. In the past, addicts were stereotyped by the way they looked, often by gender and according to their status (or lack thereof) in life.
It's much more difficult to spot an opiate addict today than in the past. There may not be track or needle marks. They may look like you or I. They may look like the everyday average citizen. But this massive problem affects everyone. If you have ever had a major surgery or illness, you were likely prescribed some sort of opiate painkiller. Everyday people are becoming addicted to them in record numbers.
Signs That Someone You Know Has Become Opiate Addicted
Drugs such as morphine and OxyContin are powerful, and their continual use can lead to dependence. If this progresses to addiction, people will find it very hard to stop taking them because of powerful opiate withdrawal symptoms. You or someone you know may be struggling with opiate dependence or opiate addiction. A full-blown addiction will be easier to spot.
Signs to watch for if you suspect someone is addicted to opiates:
- Evidence that someone is running out of his or her prescription painkillers early
- Evidence that a person is "doctor shopping," or going from doctor to doctor or multiple clinics to secure large supplies of medication
- An increase in tolerance, where the person has become used to a dosage and requires higher and higher amounts for desired effects
- Buying large quantities of prescription painkillers on the Internet or the street
- Evidence of opiate withdrawal if the person runs out or attempts to stop taking opiates
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Lack of interest in things they once used to enjoy
- Lack of motivation to work or get things done
- Mood swings
- Changes in personality or behavior
What You Can Do If A Loved One Is Addicted To Opiates
There are a number of things you can do if you suspect that a loved one is suffering with this problem. First of all, have a conversation and approach the subject in a non-judgmental way. The person is not likely to be receptive at first. There may be a great deal of denial involved. Offer support and encouragement. And above all, suggest treatment.
Opiate detox or rehab programs can offer a variety of services to help. Inpatient treatment tends to be much more in-depth, offering counseling and services to make the make the transition to wellness easier.