It’s very difficult for people to recognize the signs opioid addiction or opioid dependence in themselves. Part of addiction means that the brain maintains its denial in order to continue having access to the drug it depends on to function. However, this stand-off doesn’t have to be a life sentence, with someone’s health and sobriety held captive by their own brain. Are you worried about a loved one who is abusing opioids? If they can acknowledge that they have a problem, they can end the cycle of addiction. There is a reputable professional drug rehab and opioid detox in Pennsylvania where your loved one can get the help they need.
To learn about how opioid addiction treatment works, what a medical detox program is like, and how to leave prescription drug abuse behind, call Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) to speak to a member of our staff. Just complete this online form to connect, or call us at 844.442.8673.
Symptoms of Opioid Dependence
One clue that someone needs to take a closer look at their drug use is if trusted friends like you are worried about them. Does your loved one avoid you and other friends because they don’t want to hear you tell you about your concerns? How can you help them see that people who care about them the most are not trying to hurt but help? What do you see that leads you to think your loved one has an opioid use disorder (OUD)?
You may notice physical, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive signs of trouble related to a loved one’s prescription drug abuse. The symptoms depend in part on the duration of the opioid abuse and how much they take on a daily basis.
- Changes in appetite and weight loss
- Intermittent nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Impaired coordination
- Lying about drug use and related factors like finances
- Stealing or borrowing money
- Social isolation
- Slurred speech
- Preoccupation with drug acquisition, including doctor shopping
- Anxiety (or increase in anxiety)
- Depression (or increase in depression)
- Mood swings
- Poor impulse control
- Poor concentration
- Impaired decision making
- Degraded communication skills
- Memory loss
One of the most significant signs of opioid dependence is when once-important relationships crumble. People who are addicted to opioids, as well as other drugs, attempt to separate themselves from the people who know them best and who are most likely to call attention to their changed behaviors and worrisome symptoms.
How to Help a Loved One with Opioid Dependence
If you have concerns about someone you care about, remember that any illegal use of prescription drugs or any use of illegally manufactured or sold opioids is considered abuse. To help your loved one whom you know is abusing opioids, consider the following:
Recognize the signs of opioid dependence – Listed above are some symptoms to look out for. But even if you are unsure if they are dependent on or addicted to an opioid, regular use is reason enough to reach out to help.
- Educate yourself – Learn about drug dependence, addiction, and treatment so you can be a resource for your loved one.
- Be honest about your concerns – It is important not to remain silent once you suspect opioid addiction. Tips for this difficult conversation include bringing up the subject when your loved one is sober, using open-ended and nonjudgmental questions, sticking to facts such as things you have personally observed, and not expecting immediate acceptance or action.
- Be certain that you are not an enabler – People often fear losing their loved one and thus turn to enabling behaviors to keep them close, but the result is aiding and abetting the risky, addictive behavior. Enabling can involve making excuses for the person who is using opioids or getting them out of financial jams that arise due to drug use.
- Reach out to an opioid addiction treatment center – Contacting professionals can help you as you help your loved one. The staff at an opioid treatment center can give you information about treatment options and suggest ways to support your loved one and get them the help they need.
Evidence-based treatments in a safe rehab environment can help your loved one achieve lasting recovery.
Opioid Addiction Treatment at PAATC
PAATC’s opioid detox center, outpatient and inpatient opioid rehab programs, and comprehensive therapy offerings can help change the trajectory of a life that has gone off course due to drug misuse.