Did you know that 2018 statistics show that 128 people die every day from an opioid overdose? You can tell yourself, “Oh, it’s a prescription. It’s safe,” but nothing could be further from the truth if you abuse your medication. Opioids have a long history of being used by medical professionals to treat pain. Unfortunately, they also have a great potential for abuse that can lead to an addiction. How can you tell if you’ve gone from patient to abuser? Here are some signs to watch out for if your doctor prescribes you opioids.
Can You Control Your Opioid Use?
You don’t want to use too much of your medications but you just need a little extra dose here and there outside of what’s prescribed. If you can’t wait until the prescribed time for the next dose or you are taking extra pills beyond what has been prescribed, your prescription needs to be adjusted to better treat your pain. Sorry, but it’s still abusing opioids because you’re not taking it as prescribed.
If you are taking extra doses or taking more than what is prescribed because it feels good and gives you a buzz, it’s the first sign that you’re out of control and you are either heading for an addiction or have already developed a habit.
Maybe the medication was originally prescribed for pain and you’re not really having pain anymore but you still find yourself wanting to take them or get high by overmedicating yourself beyond your pain levels. This is a big sign you’ve moved from therapeutic use into abuse and you need to take action for your sake.
Have You Changed Your Daily Exercise, Hygiene, or Sleep Patterns?
You might be getting addicted to opioid medication if your sleep patterns suddenly change. Maybe you always went to bed at a reasonable hour and got up fairly early. Maybe you find yourself needing cat naps during the day. Maybe you’re awake all night. If your sleep patterns have suddenly changed, it may be more than a little extra stress in your life.
Have you suddenly let your exercise routine slide? You were a dedicated runner but you just don’t have the energy to get up and do it anymore, so you sit for hours on the couch in front of the TV. This can also be the first sign of depression, but if you’re taking opioids, consider this a warning sign.
Likewise, you just may not feel like getting off the couch to get in the shower or brush your teeth. Don’t you typically feel better after you do those things? If you’re so glued to the TV or your bed you can’t even perform basic hygienic functions, you’ve got a problem.
Have You Lost Your Libido?
Moving on to a more sensitive subject, you may not be entirely alarmed by your lack of motivation to perform basic hygiene because your libido has dwindled down to nothing. Sigmund Freud once said the only abnormal sexual behavior is none at all. You just don’t care about any more hookups, dating, or going out with friends. (Presuming you ever did.) You went from an active love life to no love life and you just don’t care. Hint: it’s that “just don’t care” part you should be worried about.
Are You Isolating Yourself?
Do you find yourself spending more time alone these days? When an opioid prescription becomes an addiction you may withdraw from friends or family because you don’t want them seeing how you’ve changed or interfering with your new addiction. Maybe you don’t even care that you’re not seen because you’re so preoccupied with how you’re going to get your next dose that everything else becomes trivial, including family and friends. Using opioids and getting high become the only things that matter and everything else fades away.
Have You Stolen From Friends and Family?
One definition of addiction states that any behavior you continue even when it harms you (or others) qualifies as an addiction. If you’ve come to the point where you’re stealing from family and friends just to fund your abuse of prescription drugs, you are clearly in need of a detox program. Opioid use has taken over your life and you need to take it back. The only scenario worse than this is the one below.
Are You Drowsy Or Sedated?
If you feel sedated, you’ve gone way behind the normal therapeutic dose and you need to get help right away because this can have dangerous consequences. Opiates are no joking matter and they act as a depressant to the central nervous system, so when you are sedated, your body is trying to tell you it’s had enough. Especially watch for a decreased respiratory rate—it should be around 16 breaths per minute, but if it drops under 12, you’ve got a problem that requires immediate medical intervention. This kind of central nervous system depression can kill you. Get help right now.
Maybe you started taking opioids as a legal prescription, medicating yourself for a chronic or acute pain condition. But now you’ve gone beyond that. You stopped taking your medications as prescribed and started abusing opioids by taking too many at once or taking them too frequently so you can get a buzz. Now you’re having cravings and can’t control your opioid use. Maybe you’re seeing changes in your behavioral routines such as a lack of hygiene or altered sleep patterns. There is a crisis in the U.S. that has resulted in millions of people becoming addicted to prescription opioids. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we can offer you a safe and comfortable detoxification for medications as well as follow-up with psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you cope. And we can do all of that in a home-like atmosphere. We’re here to help you. Call us at (800) 338-6925.