When you struggle with a substance use disorder, the problem can affect your physical, mental, and spiritual health, which is why we focus on all three for optimal wellness. Here’s a look at the connection.
Let’s begin this blog with a few eye-opening statistics: 21%-29% of those who are prescribed opioids misuse them and 8%-12% develop an opioid use disorder. As alarming, 4%-6% of those who misuse opioids transition to heroin. What we want to illustrate with these numbers is just how easy it is to develop a life-altering (and life-threatening) opioid addiction.
The team here at Tres Vistas Recovery, under the compassionate and experienced direction of Dr. Daniel Headrick, is all too familiar with these statistics and we’re here to help. The first step in addressing an opioid use disorder is recognizing that there’s a problem, which is why we’ve pulled together some potential warning flags.
One of the first signs of a problem is if you or your loved one uses opioids in a way that isn’t prescribed. For example, you may take an extra pill here or there or perhaps you take pills more frequently than prescribed. As we pointed out in the statistics above, this kind of misuse is an extremely slippery slope as your brain starts to rationalize taking more opioids than is necessary.
One of the most insidious aspects of an addiction are the uncontrollable cravings. This occurs as your brain’s pleasure centers begin to override normal neural transmissions, leaving even the most strong-willed among us helpless.
It’s important to note that these cravings don’t have anything to do with your pain, but everything to do with new neural connections that have formed in your brain.
If you find yourself counting down the minutes until you can take a painkiller or you panic if you can’t find your pills, these are warning signs. Many of our patients describe the side effects of an opioid use disorder as an obsession that slowly overshadows everything else in their lives.
So, if you find that your opioid use consumes your thoughts, it may be time to seek our help.
Another warning sign is increasing isolation — you just want to be left alone and you become more furtive so that others can’t see the problem. If you or a loved one begins to withdraw and lose interest in friends, family, careers, and even your sex life, this could spell the first signs of addiction.
Addiction is one side of an opioid use disorder and dependence makes up the other. If you try and stop taking opioids and you experience withdrawal symptoms, this signals a physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms include:
These symptoms are often enough to send you back to the opioids for relief.
When you have an opioid use disorder, you’ll go to great lengths to acquire more. Examples of this include making up or exaggerating symptoms with the doctor, claiming you lost your pills, or worse, transitioning to heroin.
If you suspect you or a loved one is developing an opioid use disorder, the earlier we can intervene, the easier the road is to recovery. That said, no matter where you may be in your addiction, we’re here to help through our detox program, residential treatments, and intensive outpatient services. Please contact our San Juan Capistrano, California office to learn more.
You Might Also Enjoy...
Taking painkillers can be a slippery slope to addiction — not to mention, they aren’t long-term solutions. Explore why physical therapy is a safer, more sustainable approach to pain management.
The link between trauma and substance misuse is a strong one and one that’s well worth understanding if you or a loved one is struggling with both. More importantly, there is help for each that can set you free.
The early days of breaking free from a substance use disorder are trying, to say the least, and you need all the help you can get. This help and support can be found in our intensive outpatient program.
You have a substance use disorder and you’re planning on just quitting, cold turkey. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t go it alone when it comes to detoxing, not the least of which is that it can be very dangerous.
The number of overdose deaths in the United States has skyrocketed recently, topping 100,000, and opioids account for more than 75% of this staggering number. To avoid this terrible outcome, recognizing an opioid use disorder is paramount.