Opiates are a type of drug commonly prescribed to treat pain. Derived from the poppy plant, they are the third most frequently abused drug (behind alcohol and marijuana). While these drugs can relieve pain and improve the quality of life of an individual suffering from chronic pain, recreational use of opiates quickly leads to addiction. Even the incorrect use of opiates for pain relief can cause an increase in tolerance, and potential addiction.
Opiate addiction affects both the mind and body of an individual, and there are many signs to look for if you believe a loved one is abusing prescription drugs. Frequent mood swings and an increase in anger or anxiety is a common sign of opiate use. Many drug users also isolate themselves from friends and family, ignore personal hygiene practices and show signs of disorientation. Physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia and joint pain are often seen as well.
Commonly abused prescription drugs include Hydrocodone, Methadone and Oxycodone. When used in excess, these drugs relieve stress and create feelings of euphoria. Once addicted, an individual cannot stop taking opiates without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Lack of energy
- Hot and cold sweats
- Muscle pains
- Abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting
While the physical symptoms of withdrawal typically last from a week to a month, the emotional symptoms will continue much longer. To learn more about opiate addiction, visit Addictions and Recovery. For help coping with drug addiction and symptoms of withdrawal, contact Melissa Babiarz, LMHC online or by calling 716-572-8677.