If you been wondering: am I addicted to opiates, learn how to tell if you have a problem
The terrifying epidemic of opiate addicts who became addicted while taking their medications as prescribed has patients everywhere asking themselves, “Am I addicted to opiates?” It´s a question that anyone taking opiates should ask themselves. The National Center on Drug Abuse reports that one in four patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain end up struggling with addiction. Identifying the early warning signs of opiate addiction can help you save yourself from suffering an agonizing lifetime of drug dependence and abuse.
Opioids are a class of narcotic pain relievers that includes the prescription medications fentanyl, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), as well as the illegal drug heroin. They are now the most commonly prescribed class of medications in the United States, with more than 245 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers dispensed in 2014 alone.
Opioid addiction and dependence are sometimes confused, but there is a distinct difference. When you take any opioid pain medication for an extended amount of time, your body reduces its production of dopamine, which regulates moods and physical functions. You become physically dependent on the opiates you take to replace the missing dopamine. Tolerance develops and you need higher doses of the opiate to achieve the same effect. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms including nausea, chills, cramps, and tremors, kick in as doses wear off. These symptoms can increase in severity if you try to stop taking opioids abruptly.
Opioid addiction occurs when you begin to experience intense psychological cravings for the drugs. Your fear of withdrawal symptoms makes obtaining an ongoing supply of opiates more important than anything else in your life. Opioid addiction and dependence can develop within weeks of your taking the first dose of narcotic medication.
If you are concerned that you may be addicted to opioids, there are certain signs that will indicate you have developed a problem with opioids. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you taking your opioid medications differently than prescribed?
- Have you changed the way you take the drugs, snorting or injecting instead of taking tablets?
- Are you running out of medication early?
- Have you begun looking for additional sources of opiates, through “doctor shopping,” seeking to fill prescriptions early, borrowing or even stealing opiates from people you know?
- Are you continuing to use opioids, even though your medical issue is resolved and they are negatively affecting your life?
- Does the thought of stopping opioids make you feel panicked or out of control?
- Have you begun lying to loved ones about your opioid use?
- Do you find yourself obsessing about opioid medications, spending an increasing amount of your time figuring out ways to obtain more drugs?
- Have you begun to consider taking heroin as a cheaper and easier alternative to getting more opioids?
If you answer ‘yes’ to several of these questions, you can be reasonably certain that you have become addicted to opiates. There are treatment options that will help. An opioid addiction treatment center can provide you with medically supervised detox, addiction therapy, and aftercare to help you overcome your opioid addiction and regain your life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.