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Opioid Addiction: Signs of Addiction and Treatment Options

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Opioid addiction is a huge problem in the United States as people suffering from pain often get addicted to these medications. If or someone you know is fighting addiction, you can seek treatment and go back to a pre-addiction life.

Opioids as Pain Medication

Pain medications contain opioids, which are very effective in treating chronic pain. However, the pain-relieving effects can lessen with ongoing use. This means the patient may take more than prescribed to ease the pain as the body becomes dependent on the medication.

The patient becomes addicted when dependence leads to withdrawal symptoms when reducing or not taking the medication. It then takes more and more medication to feel better, and the craving starts to interfere with everyday life.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

Loved ones shouldn't find it difficult to spot the signs of addiction in loved ones using opioid drugs. However, most often it's the people around the addicted person that notices the following signs of addiction:

  • Uncontrollable craving for the drug
  • Unable to control use despite negative effects
  • Having relationship, personal, or financial difficulties

The addicted person may show signs of a "high" or euphoria when on the drug. Along with loved ones may notice other physical signs:

  • Small pupils
  • Shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Slurred speech

Those with opioid addiction may also complain of chronic constipation or a low sex drive due to the medication.

Addiction Treatment Options

A variety of treatment options exist for opioid addiction. These include methadone, a medication to help stop cravings and withdrawal. Support programs and medications are used at opioid addiction treatment centers. Addiction disorders are effectively treated in out-patient therapy programs. They treat two types of treatment addiction—detoxification and then complete abstinence for the substance or detoxification and medication-assisted treatment.

Detoxification and abstinence are usually a long, difficult process for recovery and have a high risk of relapse. An example of this type of treatment includes Narcotics Anonymous, which is a 12-step program.

Detoxification and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) are often more successful. After detox, patients continue treatment with a medication to make recovery safer and more manageable. These medications naloxone, methadone, or buprenorphine.

When choosing an opioid addiction treatment center, you must research the options. Ask what plans they offer to address addictions. Each patient is different, and opioid treatment centers that understand treating the person as a whole is a good approach are often more effective. This is because along with addition, patients may have other issues that must be addressed, like depression or anxiety.