Opioids have become some of the most abused drugs in the recent times. They are mainly used in healthcare facilities as treatment against chronic pain; for instance, cancer, anemia, injury and surgical procedures. However, it is important to acknowledge that the drugs are also used for recreational purposes, mainly due to their ability to produce euphoria.

While there are variations in the addictive capacities of individual drugs, it is acknowledged that every opiate is habit forming. This is mainly due to their ability to alter the functioning of the nerve cells in the brain. Ordinarily, nerve cells are known to produce endorphins (natural painkillers). However, when opiates are taken they actually introduce artificial endorphins resulting in the cessation of natural endorphin production. With the nerve cells not producing any endorphins, they degenerate, in which case the body becomes dependent on the opiates and not on its natural processes.

Opioid Addiction Signs

With physical and psychological dependence, an individual has to continue taking the drugs since any attempts to stop taking them would bring about withdrawal. In such instances, an individual actually is not taking the opiates for the initial reasons to relieve pain or even inducing euphoria; but, rather to avoid the occurrence of withdrawal.

As consumption of opiates continues, their effectiveness in producing euphoria or even relieving pain would be greatly compromised. This comes as a result of adjustment of the body to a certain amount of opiates in its system. In this case, the individual will have to take higher doses in order to have the desired results. However, the buildup of chemical tolerance would continue thereby necessitating a progressive increase in the doses. This underlines the vicious cycle that the individual would be trapped in.

One of the earliest signs of addiction to opiates is the compulsive use of the drugs. In fact, an individual has no control over the consumption of these drugs. In this case, they would consume the drugs even when they had devastating effects on various aspects of their lives.

In addition, you will notice that an individual needs to take more of the drugs in order to relieve pain. This is a result of the chemical tolerance of the body to the drugs which renders the normal doses ineffective in bringing about the desired effects.

An individual can go for opiates from different healthcare professionals all in an effort to obtain higher doses. In fact, they may even cheat about their doses. Having in mind that opiates are not always cheap, whether from the streets or from the healthcare centers, an individual could engage in unethical behavior, such as stealing, just to obtain their preferred drugs.

Physical opioid addiction symptoms that you should be on the lookout for include:

  • Needle mark
  • Slurred speech
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Heavy sweating
  • Impaired vision
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Impaired coordination
  • Itching and scratching