Opioid abuse is a growing problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 42,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2016 alone. This staggering statistic shows just how serious this issue is. To better equip those looking for help, let’s take a closer look at opioid abuse, its causes and risks, its signs and symptoms, its effects, co-occurring disorders, and the withdrawal process.
According to the CDC, opioids were involved in 47% of all drug overdose deaths in 2018; 66% involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl or tramadol. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that an estimated 2 million Americans have an opioid use disorder due to prescription opioids or heroin.
Causes and Risks
Various factors, such as genetics, mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, and environmental factors, such as peer pressure or prescription access, can cause the misuse of prescription medications. Those who are more likely to become addicted include people with chronic pain who have been prescribed opioids for an extended period; individuals with a history of substance abuse; people between 18-25 years old; and individuals who are uninsured or underinsured.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs may indicate that someone is abusing opioids. Here is the importance of searching for opioid treatment programs. These signs include drowsiness or sedation; paranoia or agitation; changes in speech patterns; changes in behavior; physical changes; financial difficulties due to paying for drugs; increased tolerance which leads to larger doses; seeking out multiple doctors to get more prescriptions; and withdrawal symptoms when medications are not available.
The short-term effects of opioid abuse can include drowsiness, confusion, slowed breathing rate and heart rate, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and poor coordination, balance, and memory problems. Long-term effects can include addiction/dependence on the drugs, liver damage from acetaminophen overdose if taken with opioids over a long period, increased risk of HIV due to shared needles used when injecting drugs intravenously, brain damage due to oxygen deprivation while passed out from drugs, weakened immune system, insomnia, depression, hallucinations, seizures, coma.
People suffering from opioid addiction often develop other mental health issues, such as anxiety disorder or depression, due to their substance use problem. Other common co-occurring conditions associated with opioid abuse include personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, characterized by unstable moods, and antisocial personality disorder, described by disregarding social norms.
Suppose someone suddenly stops using opioids after taking them regularly for some time. In that case, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, so it is important to get help from opioid treatment programs. Some common withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats, hot flashes, rapid heartbeat, pulse rate, muscle aches, weakness, and tremors.
When To Search For Opioid Treatment Programs – In Conclusion
Opioid abuse is a severe problem throughout the United States that requires immediate attention. It’s essential to recognize the signs and symptoms to intervene effectively. Additionally, it’s necessary to acknowledge any co-occurring disorders that may be present so that they can be adequately treated along with any addiction issues. Understanding these key points can help you make informed decisions about how best to treat someone suffering from opioid addiction.