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Face of Addiction: Warning Signs of Opioid Abuse

blog52017 has witnessed the abuse of opioid addiction grow and become apart of the national discussion.  What was once seen, as a “big city” problem is now apart of today’s cultural fabric all across America.  The face of addiction is no longer the poor or the homeless, but individuals that are holding jobs, contributing to society and from all social economic classes.  To be specific, individuals that suffer from addiction are family members, neighbors and co-workers.


Nearly two-thirds of drug overdoses from prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids have killed more than 64,000 Americans last year.  This startling number represents an increase of more than 20 percent over 2015.


When President Trump was elected to office the opioid crisis was listed as a top priority and many thought that a state of emergency was going to be invoked to combat the rise of opioid addiction.  While this has not occurred to date, it illustrates the urgency that people all across the country and world are experiencing as addiction creeps into their lives through a family member, coworker or friend.


Below are 10 physical signs that addiction might be occurring.


  • Mood Changes: A person who is actively misusing opioids may seem drowsy and disoriented. User seems to fall asleep, while sitting or even standing, with their head hung down. Movements may be slowed and speech may be slurred.


  • Flu-like symptoms: Opioid withdrawals cause nausea, fever and headache that are similar and often associated to the common flu.


  • Sleeping habits:The individual’s sleep habits may become prolonged or excessive at times, and then shortened or even non-existent.


  • Weight loss: Losing weight is a common symptom of opioid addiction as drugs change the metabolic make up of the individual.


  • Eyes: Opioid use results in bloodshot eyes or large / small pupils.


  • Energy level:Energy levels fluctuate and often result lethargic behavior by the user.


  • Decreased libido:  Opioid use lowers testosterone and estrogen levels of its users.


  • Old habits: Users of opioids tend to fall back into old habits.  One example is resuming the act of smoking cigarettes.


  • Relationships:Friendships that were once important may drop in the individual’s estimation or even end.


  • Overspending:Opioid use often interferes with an individual’s common sense and as a result they are prone to make bad choices.  Specifically in the spending category.

Once signs of abuse and/or addiction become prevalent, it is important to know the options that can be pursued to help that person become well.  One of the most effective methods of treating drug addiction is through continuing medication therapies like methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine. Multiple studies suggest these medications help guard against relapse as well as addiction-related medical problems, allowing people to return to work and rebuild their lives.


To learn more about any of these medicated treatments please visit the Center for Behavioral Health at


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