Having a dependency to opiates can be a fairly normal process for someone who is on long-term therapy for pain. A physical opiate dependency can develop after routine use by people who are prescribed opiates. This, in addition to psychological dependency, indicates that an addiction has developed and this is much more serious.
The problem with physical dependency is that opiate withdrawal will set in once use is stopped. This can be tough mentally and physically. Many people continue to use opiates or return to them (relapse) because withdrawal can be so painful. There is a clear danger in trying to stop taking opiates cold turkey. With help, withdrawal can be a very manageable experience.
Signs Common Among Those Who Are Dependent Upon Opiates
Dependency can cause a continuation, or a progression of opiate use despite potential negative outcomes. When a person can't stop taking opiates despite risks, he or she can become withdrawn and display signs that are hard to miss. Dependence and withdrawal avoidance can propel people to do things that may seem uncharacteristic. Behaviors can include:
- Drug seeking
- Making the drug a priority over everything else
- Strong compulsions to obtain and use one or more opiates
- A progressive worsening in mood, affect and motivation
Simply Looking At A Person May Not Be Enough
People may go to great lengths to conceal their dependence to opiates but close family members, friends and co-workers will undoubtedly recognize there is a problem as the condition progresses. The problem is that most often, you can't just look at a person with this problem and see physical signs. Many will be behavioral in nature, and some people will display outward psychological or emotional signs. These can include:
- A distance in the person's attitude and personality
- Signs of lying or excessive excuse making
- Uncharacteristic behaviors such as deceit, not showing up to work
- Inability to manage life
There Is Help For Those Who Develop A Problem With Opiates
Opiate abuse is very dangerous but many people feel hopeless and helpless to quit. Support during this time is critical. So many people resist the idea of opiate treatment because they may fear change and the inevitable process of withdrawal. But this can be a time of great healing, and many people who safely detox report never feeling better in their lives.
Opiate detox and opiate rehab programs can help patients get through this difficult time in a comfortable and compassionate manner.