What Are the Signs of Opioid Abuse?
What Are the Signs of Opioid Abuse?

People are using and abusing opioids, now more than ever before. Opioid abuse impacts a person’s health and quality of life, and is sometimes fatal– there were 82,998 opioid-involved overdose deaths in 2022.

People struggling with opioid use disorders often feel ashamed to ask for help. While this type of shame is common, addiction,like any other medical disease, requires treatment and support. Recovery from addiction is possible, and many individuals have successfully overcome addiction.

The team at our opioid rehab in Sacramento provides highly personalized and tailored treatment plans to help patients overcome their addictions and maintain long-term sobriety. We understand how debilitating a disease addiction can be, which is why we offer a series of addiction treatment options, like opioid addiction treatment, so patients can leave behind the hopelessness of opiates and live healthy, happy, meaningful lives. 

Common Signs of Opioid Abuse

Recognizing signs of opioid abuse can be tricky, especially for people who were originally prescribed opioids by a medical professional. Addiction is a real risk when opioids are prescribed for a legitimate reason. 

Recognizing opioid abuse in its early stages can prevent it from escalating into a full-blown addiction. Early intervention can help individuals regain control over their substance use more easily. Opioid abuse is associated with a significantly increased risk of death. Identifying and addressing abuse can help individuals access appropriate treatment and support, reducing the risk of opioid-related fatalities.

Physical Signs of Opioid Use

  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Constricted pupils
  • Constipation
  • Itching or scratching

The problem with relying on only the physical signs of opioid use is that these signs can be the same if someone is taking opioids as intended or abusing them. That is why understanding the behavioral signs of abuse can be vital in recognizing if someone has a problem with opioids.

Behavioral Signs of Opioid Abuse

  • Abnormal change in personality or attitude
  • Avoiding friends and family
  • Spending less time doing hobbies or activities they once enjoyed
  • Declining work or school performance
  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Stealing prescriptions from friends or family

Risk Factors For Opioid Addiction

The risk factors for someone to start abusing opioids can vary widely and may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and individual factors. It’s important to note that the presence of one or more risk factors does not guarantee that an individual will develop an opioid abuse problem, but they may statistically increase the likelihood.

Whether a person was prescribed opioids legally or not, the most common risk factors of someone who may start abusing opioids include:

Family History of Substance Abuse: If there is a history of substance abuse in the family, a person may be at a higher risk of developing opioid addiction.

Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more vulnerable to addiction and the rewarding effects of opioids.

Mental Health Disorders: Conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can increase the risk of opioid abuse.

Impulsivity or Sensation-Seeking Tendencies: Individuals who are impulsive and seek intense or novel experiences may be more likely to experiment with opioids.

Early Exposure to Opioids: Starting opioid use at a young age, whether for medical or recreational reasons, can increase the risk of future misuse.

History of Trauma: Experiencing physical, emotional, or sexual trauma in childhood or adulthood can be a risk factor for opioid abuse, as individuals may use opioids to cope with distressing memories and emotions.

It is essential to bear in mind that opioids are inherently addictive substances, even when used for legitimate medical purposes. Therefore, if someone has been prescribed opioids, it’s crucial to understand the potential for addiction. This doesn’t mean a person should avoid opioid medications that are prescribed to you, but rather underscores the importance of adhering precisely to your doctor’s instructions for medication usage. Responsible and informed use can help mitigate the risk of addiction while still benefiting from the legitimate medical uses of opioids.

Help Is Available at SequoiaMD

Sequoia MD is a direct primary care and addiction treatment center committed to providing effective, personal health care solutions to patients. We offer several types of addiction treatment in Sacramento to help as many patients as possible safely and effectively overcome their addiction and take back their lives.

Ready to start your road to recovery? Contact us today at 916-668-7164 to learn how we can help on your recovery journey!

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