Opioids are highly addictive drugs that are designed to numb pain. Unlike many drugs, most opioids are legal and widely prescribed by doctors.

There’s easy access to an overabundance of opioids, including oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone.

People often start taking opioids when they suffer an injury or have surgery. Long-term opioid use for chronic pain is particularly risky. Over time, the body builds up a dependence on the drug. Opioid users need bigger and more frequent doses to get high.

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Stopping opioid use becomes difficult because users go into withdrawal. Some then switch to heroin, the only illegal opioid.

Uncontrollable cravings for opioids can turn deadly if the person overdoses.

An overdose occurs when a toxic level of the opioid enters the bloodstream and stops organ function.

Therefore, family and friends must get opioid addicts professional help fast. Here are eight warning signs that your loved one is struggling with opioid addiction.

1) Misusing Painkillers

People addicted to opioids will take way more pills than prescribed. Look for missing pills and watch for frequent doses.

Opioid addicts may travel to many different doctors. Some try stealing opioids prescribed to other people.

Others start crushing the pills and snorting or even injecting them.

Check for the tell-tale track marks in the arm from needle use.

2) Noticeable Weight Loss

Opioids are known to lower a person’s metabolism. Thus, individuals addicted to opioids don’t have much of an appetite.

Watch for significant changes in their daily diet.

Opioid addicts may eat very little or skip meals entirely. Lack of nourishment leads to rapid weight loss.

Take note when someone’s clothes get baggier. Their hair could also thin out without proper nutrition.

3) Increased Fatigue

Drowsiness is a major side effect of opioid painkillers. People addicted to opioids are usually tired often.

The person may oversleep, take recurring naps, or randomly doze off. When awake, they might look lethargic and in need of caffeine.

Watch for sluggish behavior that interrupts their daily routine. Opioid abusers can lack the energy to do normal tasks like work and exercise.

4) Unexplained Flu Symptoms

Everyone feels under the weather sometimes. However, people addicted to opioids will exhibit chronic flu symptoms.

This happens whenever the person goes into withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal causes fever, headache, and runny nose just like the flu.

Some people sneeze and cough even though it’s not allergy season. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common signs.

5) Disoriented Confusion

Opioid addiction affects a person’s body and mind. Individuals misusing opioids will appear confused and dazed when high.

Strong opioid doses muddle up thoughts in the brain.

Look for changes in your loved one’s mental capacity. They may slur words, misspeak, and forget things.

In severe cases, opioid addicts experience hallucinations and see things that don’t exist.

6) Social Isolation

People addicted to opioids start to distance themselves from other people. Pushing family and friends away is common.

Your loved one might start treating you with anger and disdain. Addicts isolate themselves to hide their secrets.

They show disinterest in work, school, social events, and hobbies. Hormonal changes could lead to a lack of interest in sex too.

7) Poor Hygiene

Eventually, the addict’s life will start revolving around painkillers. Getting another opioid dose is all that matters.

As a result, people might stop normal grooming. Take note of physical changes in your loved one’s appearance.

Perhaps they’re wearing the same unwashed clothes. Maybe their hair is knotted or their beard is unshaved. Body odor from not showering is a major red flag.

8) Financial Troubles

Feeding an opioid addiction isn’t cheap. Once doctors cut off their supply, addicts turn to the black market.

They’ll start withdrawing large amounts of cash to score more drugs.

Some might steal money from family or friends and sell off their once prized belongings.

If possible, watch the person’s bank accounts and credit card statements. Flag any unexplained purchases you find.

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When you notice several of these opioid addiction signs, you must intervene.

Fast action saves lives.

Talk to the person about your concerns in a non-judgmental tone. Show empathy and kindness instead of criticism.

Opioid addiction isn’t anyone’s fault. Encourage them to seek treatment willingly. If they refuse, consult with a counselor about professional intervention.

Getting people with opioid addiction into high-quality rehab therapy is a necessity.

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