From Healing to Hurting: Understanding Opioid Addiction

Thoughtful man in room

Injuries happen, and while unfortunate, they can be challenging to escape. Various occupations may hold a higher risk of injury, and accidents can happen that may be out of one’s control. From severe injuries to chronic pain, medication can be an essential part of the healing process to aid in the management of pain.

However, when it comes to prescription opioids, they can also present a significant danger due to their addictive properties. What was once an aid in the healing process can instead create a myriad of new challenges to overcome.

Understanding the symptoms and dangers of opioid addiction and how it can affect an individual can help inform each person of the signs to look for and how to reach out for help to overcome such a complicated addiction.

The Role of Opioids in Healing

Opioid use and abuse can start with a prescription with good intentions. Chronic pain that requires more than typical over-the-counter pain relievers may benefit from the more substantial doses provided by prescription opioids. These can include Vicodin, Percocet, or OxyCotin. However, these widely prescribed drugs also came with highly addictive properties that continue to impact individuals beyond their need for pain management.

Despite these dangers, these drugs are still prescribed today. Their destructive effects are still pertinent to address. Opioid addiction is not something anyone sets out to develop, but, commonly, addiction can occur despite the original good intentions.

As one’s prescription runs out or becomes less and less effective due to building tolerance, those using prescription opioids as recommended can still develop an addiction and may look to other sources to obtain more of the drugs. In some cases, the person will look to find street-level drugs or begin to inflict self-harm to get another prescription.

Symptoms of Opioid Addiction

Opioid use can have many effects on an individual’s body and mind. While each person will express the symptoms of a developing addiction in their own way, some of the physical symptoms of an addiction to opioids are:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Drowsiness/lethargy
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Slurred speech

Likewise, an individual may express a plethora of mental and emotional symptoms as well, which may include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Irrational or explosive anger
  • Avoiding responsibilities
  • Low motivation
  • Detachment from previous interests or relationships

Coupled with potential financial hardships, overcoming an addiction to opioids is incredibly difficult, requiring a significant number of changes to address.

Knowing Your Risks

While addiction can affect anybody regardless of age, financial or social status, gender, or any other relevant demographics, some traits can make an individual more susceptible to the development of addiction. If someone is seeking pain management from their doctor and is considering prescription opioids, it is important to discuss the potential risk factors to understand how one may be affected by these addictive substances. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Family history with substance abuse or addiction
  • Experiences with past drug use (prescription or recreational)
  • Interest in thrill-seeking or risky behavior
  • Sources of stress in one’s life
  • History of mental health disorders
  • Other experiences with addiction, including smoking, gambling, etc.

Discussing these factors can help determine if prescription opioids are the best route for any given individual. If an individual is still being recommended the prescribed medications, it can also be important to look to potential individual therapies or groups. Perhaps it would help to schedule regular check-ups to monitor one’s relationship with the substances and track the symptoms present to identify any possible developing addiction.

Catching Addiction Early

Opioids, whether prescription or bought off the street, are mind-altering substances that can change one’s perception of the world around them. It can be difficult to identify changes in one’s own behavior while under their influence. As a result, it is essential to make others aware of one’s use to help identify any changed or dangerous behaviors.

Having oneself and family members keep a journal of any noticed changes in one’s behavior, emotions, or physical symptoms can be a great way to identify early symptoms of opioid addiction. Having regular meetings to discuss one’s feelings while using prescription opioids can also help catch any signs of early addiction.

It is important to remember that opioid addiction is not the fault of any individual, and developing an addiction to these incredibly addictive substances is always a risk with their use. However, there is no point where an individual is beyond help with their addiction. It is always possible to begin one’s recovery journey even after prolonged use of these substances.

Opioid addiction is a severe addiction that can affect people from all walks of life. An addicted individual may feel trapped in their addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to prescription or street opioids and are ready to take the first step towards a healthier, sober future, we at Avalon Malibu are prepared to help you today. We offer an array of services at various levels of healing to meet you where you are in your recovery journey — from detox and residential treatment to partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. Your time with us is personalized to fit your unique needs and goals, with cognitive-behavioral approaches, art, music, writing, psychodrama, and individual and family programs. For more information on how we can help you or to speak with a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992.

We will work with most out of network PPO policies

Call 888-835-8075 to verify your insurance benefits today!
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Health Net
Blue Of California