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Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder

When the fear of an opioid use disorder is present, learning the signs and symptoms of opioid use disorder is imperative. Opioid use disorder involves an extreme physical and mental dependence on opioids.

This substance use disorder is hazardous, can invade anywhere, and have deadly consequences from an overdose. Changes in a loved one’s behavior, lifestyle, and emotional stability, are all indications of opioid addiction. Following your intuition can save someone’s life. 

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs derived from the poppy plant. Blocking or reducing the number of signals sent to the brain makes them very effective in pain control. Physicians prescribe opioids in precisely controlled amounts. Signs and symptoms of opioid use disorder appear if more than the prescribed dosage becomes a habit.

Opioids cause the brain to release endorphins in addiction to pain control. This euphoric symptom contributes to the likelihood of addiction to occur. They can also be a step toward using heroin in the future because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids. 

Opioid drugs include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Opium
  • Heroin
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone
  • Sufentanil
  • Tramadol
  • Hydrocodone

Side Effects of Opioid Use

The misuse of opioids can result in health consequences. Correctly taken as prescribed, opioids are safe. Side effects of opioid use can be significant but not an indication of addiction. When misused, opioid addiction may manifest before the side effects begin to be recognized. Being familiar with the signs of opioid use disorder is valuable knowledge when exposed to opioids.

Health consequences or side effects of opioid use can include:

  • Lowered production of endorphins in the brain
  • Damage to major organs (brain, heart, and other vital organs)
  • Muscle cramping or muscle weakness
  • Development of mental health disorders
  • Increased risk of opioid overdose

Risk Factors of Opioid Addiction

Risk factors of opioid addiction can be genetic, environmental, or behavioral, which is true of any addiction. Also, misusing opioids can lead to a substance abuse disorder. Maintaining the directions included with the prescribed opioids can avoid addiction. Understanding the signs and symptoms of opioid use disorder can reduce the chances of an unrealized addiction problem. 

Known risk factors of opioid addiction include:

  • Genetics: family history of addiction
  • Is of a younger age 
  • History of mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Behavioral factors: experience with drug use or experimentation
  • Regular or heavy tobacco use
  • Risk-taking or thrill-seeking behavior
  • Previous criminal activity
  • Environmental factors: pressures at home or work
  • Poverty or unemployment
  • Stressful life or family situations

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder

When you or a loved one has had direct contact with opioids, an assessment must take place immediately. Symptoms of opioid use disorder can be physical, psychological, or behavioral. Awareness of signs and symptoms could assist with an intervention of the addiction of a loved one. Potential warning signs of opioid addiction could include:

  • Physical symptoms include decreased coordination, disrupted breathing, nausea or vomiting, constipation, slurred speech, drowsiness, shaking, and sweating. 
  • Psychological and behavioral symptoms include depression, anxiety attacks, mood swings, irritability, lack of motivation, impaired decision-making, abandonment of responsibilities, financial instability, changes in eating and sleeping habits, and isolation tendencies. 

Withdrawal symptoms can occur with the proper usage of opioids. Opioid withdrawal symptoms can consist of several uncomfortable symptoms as the body and brain begin to filter the drug from the body. Withdrawal symptoms can continue and increase in intensity over time. 

Initial symptoms of opioid withdrawal (usually occur within 24 hours):

  • Heavy sweating and runny nose
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Restlessness and inability to sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Eyes tearing up

Signs of an Opioid Overdose

If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs and symptoms of an opioid use disorder, it is imperative to become informed about the signs of an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, thousands of people in the United States die from an opioid overdose every year. Always call 911 immediately if you believe an overdose has occurred.  Opioid overdose is severe and life-threatening. Signs that someone is experiencing an opioid overdose include:

  • Loss of consciousness or unresponsive to stimulation
  • Slow and erratic pulse or no pulse
  • Irregular breathing or no breathing
  • The face is ashen and feels clammy
  • Constricted pupils 
  • The body goes limp
  • Fingernails and lips have a purple or blue color
  • Vomiting or gurgling noises take place

Getting Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Opioid withdrawal effects can be extreme and medically dangerous. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a treatment option for detoxing from opioid addiction. This treatment requires medical monitoring and close supervision of symptoms. Effective evidence-based therapies can address the underlying issues of addiction. Supportive parties can educate themselves on the signs of opioid use disorder to protect the addict in future times. In conclusion, relapse can happen, so it is best to prepare. 

Find Drug Addiction Help in Knoxville, TN

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder, remember that you are not alone, and help is available. At Tennessee Valley Recovery, we are here to provide the support and guidance you need on your journey to recovery. Our team of compassionate professionals is dedicated to helping you overcome the challenges of Opioid Use Disorder and embrace a healthier, drug-free life. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for specialized addiction treatment. Together, we can create a brighter future and break free from the chains of addiction. Your path to recovery starts here.