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Early Signs Of Opioid Use Disorder
Many people with chronic pain and other ailments are prescribed painkillers such as Tramadol or Percocet. Sometimes, they take their medications differently than prescribed, misusing them to feel “high” or drown out their feelings. Misuse of prescription painkillers is quite common, but how do you know if somebody has crossed the line regarding opioid use disorder?
Understanding Opioid Misuse
Opioid medications have side effects that can be noticeable. No two people experience these side effects the same. So it may be hard, just observing somebody, to know if they are taking their medications incorrectly. Opioids help reduce physical pain, but they can also cause feelings of calmness and euphoria. Some people will take more of their prescription opioids to get more of the euphoric effects. This means they will start to run out of pain medication more quickly or even seek it out from alternative resources.
When a person misuses opioids, they may begin to hoard or ration their pills. There is often evidence of this because there will be multiple pill bottles, capsules cut in half, and sometimes even ground into a powder for them to smoke or inject. They may start to take them more often or in higher quantities.
Side effects of opioid misuse may also be more pronounced. People who misuse opioids to get high may fall asleep and be hard to wake up. They may appear confused or disoriented. They also experience medical symptoms like nausea and constipation.
It’s hard to know if someone is misusing opioids by looking at them or watching them. It’s okay to ask a person about their opioid use if you are concerned, especially if it seems their pain isn’t resolving or they are taking more meds than prescribed. Sometimes opioids are used to cope with stress or boredom.
Symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder
People who are misusing opioids often have problematic behavior such as:
- Isolating or stopping attending social gatherings or family events.
- Lying about their use of opioids, minimizing their effects on their life.
- Stealing or lying to obtain additional supplies of drugs.
- Doctor shopping to get more amounts, higher doses, or additional months of pain medication.
- Trouble at work or school, inability to concentrate on essential tasks, showing up late or inebriated.
- Using other drugs alongside opioids, especially alcohol, uppers, or street drugs.
- A pre-occupation about where the subsequent supply of opioids will come from.
- Ordering medications online, via social media, or other apps.
Not everyone with an opioid use disorder will turn to street drugs. However, opioid use disorder is dangerous and progressive. If you or somebody you love is living with OUD, help is available.
Getting Help in North Carolina
If you or somebody you love is struggling with opioid use disorder, help is available. We can offer Medication-Assisted Treatment to people across the state who qualify. Please give us a call to learn more about your treatment options at 910-295-7246.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.