Seeking Opiate Addiction Treatment for a Loved One

Seeking opiate addiction treatment for a loved one

Seeking opiate addiction treatment for a loved one

Opiates are among the world’s strongest and oldest drugs. The term opiate refers only to the natural alkaloids found in the resin of the opium poppy, but opiate drugs are closely related to the synthetic opioids. Common opioids include morphine, codeine, oxycodone and hydrocodone, and these drugs are often recognized under brand names like Vicodin and OxyContin. Opioids are typically prescribed as pain relievers. They work by decreasing the brain’s perception of pain, decreasing the body’s reaction to pain and increasing pain tolerance. They can be effective short-term medical tools, but opioids are associated with a high rate of dependence and addiction. If a loved one has been using opioids for medical purposes or recreational reasons, he or she may be struggling with addiction. Taking action to help a parent, child, friend or sibling results in the best recovery outcomes.

Recognizing the Need for Opiate Addiction Treatment

The first step in finding opiate addiction treatment is identifying opiate addiction. Denial and minimization are powerful addiction-related forces that allow the disease to develop and grow, and the addict is not the only one who is blinded by these. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics[1] explains, “Denial is a dysfunctional attempt to put a good face on a bad situation by denying the impact addiction is having on the family…Reality gets rewritten as family members attempt to bend it to make it less threatening; to cover up their ever growing despair. Family members often collude in this denial and anyone who attempts to turn the spotlight onto harsh reality of addiction may be perceived as disloyal. They run in place to keep up appearances (to themselves as well as others) while feeling a sense of despair constantly nipping at their heels.” Denial is accompanied by underlying feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, and denial can break apart families already stressed by addiction. Denial is a powerful psychological tool. Seeing past denial allows families and friends to recognize that a loved does need help. No matter how new or how old opiate addiction is, immediate action offers the best chance for everyone, user and loved ones alike, to get support and move forward.

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Signs of Opiate Addiction

Overcoming denial may begin with recognizing certain change in a loved one for what they are: signs of addiction. Physical signs of opiate abuse can include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Abnormal use of laxatives to combat opiate-caused constipation
  • Itching and/or scratching
  • Track marks (needle marks) or a habit of covering the arms at all times
  • Small pupils
  • Heavy sweating

Just as families are good at denying addiction, individuals are good at hiding some of the most obvious signs of opiate abuse, at least at first. As addiction progresses, physical signs become more obvious and are accompanied by other addiction symptoms. Mood swings, changes in behavior or social patterns and financial, educational or career problems can indicate addiction. Individuals may also start asking for pills or visiting multiple doctors or pharmacies for prescriptions. Recognize signs of addiction for what they are, and take action as soon as suspicions arise. Talk to a doctor or treatment professional about addiction symptoms and opiate abuse, and call a helpline such as ours for a free assessment and advice and information for moving forward and helping a loved one find peace, health and happiness. You can help a loved one take the first steps he or she may be unable to make on their own. Call today and learn about your options for intervention, treatment and long-term recovery. We are here 24 hours a day, and all calls are free and confidential.

[1] “Living with Addiction.” National Association for Children of Alcoholics. Web. 24 May 2016.