Opioid use disorders are a problem that has plagued the lives of people and their families for a long time. Those who are suffering from opioid use disorders cannot function properly without opioids at their disposal. Sadly, the misuse of opioids is common in the United States.
The reason that this kind of substance abuse is so prevalent is because of the significant supply of the drug. Opioids are absurdly easy to get a hold of because of prescription medication; once someone has gotten a hold of opioids, it’s not long before the substance has a hold on them.
Table of Contents
- What Are Opioids?
- Why Are Opioids Misused?
- What Are The Signs of an Opioid Use Disorder?
- How Do Opioids Affect You?
- How Does Opioid Misuse Impact You?
- Does Opioid Abuse Have an Effect on Mental Health?
- What Treatment Options are There for Opioid Use Disorders?
- Inpatient Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders
- Get Started on Your Recovery Journey Today
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a substance found mostly in prescription medications such as painkillers. Not only are they found in medication, but they’re also sold privately in the form of heroin. Some other common forms of opioids include the following:
It is imperative to acknowledge the fact that opioids in themselves aren’t necessarily evil or bad. In fact, they’re necessary for most medical circumstances.
However, opioids are only supposed to be used for a short period of time. The problem arises when people use them for longer than they need to or use more of the drug than they’ve been prescribed.
Why Are Opioids Misused?
Opioids are often misused because of their pain-numbing effects. Those who abuse opioids for pain-relieving and sedatives will likely become addicted. However, it is also worth noting that a person could become dependent on opioids even if they’re under medical supervision.
This is why it is imperative to be overseen by healthcare professionals; when a person becomes dependent on a substance, a doctor can help wean them off. This is so important because opioids are considered narcotics when they’re abused.
If someone is caught with opioids when they shouldn’t have them, it can spell trouble for them. It would bring addictive trouble, legal trouble, or even death resulting from an overdose.
What Are The Signs of an Opioid Use Disorder?
Signs of opioid use disorder may include the following:
- Mood swings
- Lack of basic self-care
- Withdrawing from society and others
- Lack of concentration
- Trouble sleeping
- Severe lack of judgment
- Financial Issues
An opioid use disorder isn’t just something a person can “get over.” It’s a form of a severe substance use disorder, and it doesn’t just affect those who are addicted; it impacts a person’s family, loved ones, and anybody else around them.
How does it do so? Opioids not only have an effect on a person’s physical health their mental health as well. In addition to this, opioids also influence the behavior of an individual.
Opioid abuse, as well as other forms of substance use disorder, has a noticeable, visible impact on behavior. Because of this, it is possible and imperative to spot an opioid use disorder before it goes too far.
When a substance use disorder is identified, it helps loved ones find the right help at the right time. This could include detox or other kinds of treatment for opioids. Breaking a substance use disorder is difficult, but with the right help, it can be beaten. If it is recognized and treated in time, it could help save a person’s life.
When a person is suffering from an opioid use disorder, it is possible that they will experience mood swings. Some individuals even experience personality changes. Some of these include behaviors like:
It is common for those who struggle with opioid use disorders to become violent or confrontational with their family or loved ones. Sometimes this even extends to medical providers.
Lack of Basic Self-Care
Often, those suffering from an opioid use disorder won’t care for themselves. Personal hygiene is at an all-time low in these circumstances.
Those who aren’t taking care of themselves may neglect to:
- Brush their teeth
- Wash their clothes, or care about how they look
This could have to do with their prioritizing opioid use over everything else, so much so that they neglect to care for themselves.
Withdrawing from Society and Others
Withdrawal from others, whether they be family, loved ones, or society as a whole, is normal for those addicted to opioids. This rarely happens overnight; these changes typically take place over an extended period of time, gradually.
Over time, those who are addicted to opioids will seclude themselves from social events or activities. They’ll cut themselves off from the world in more severe cases.
Secrecy is a trait many of those with opioid use disorder carry. They may become incredibly secretive if they seem to hide something from you or avoid talking about their behavior altogether.
Oftentimes, when confronted with the truth, they’ll become defensive, sometimes even turning violent. All in all, secrecy is a definitive behavior of someone with opioid use disorder.
Lack of Concentration
Those who suffer from a dependency, or better yet, attachment to opioids, have a hard time concentrating. Focusing altogether could prove difficult for anyone who is taking opioids. Without their supply, it’s difficult to think of much else. This could negatively impact a person’s professional life, education, and personal life.
Insomnia is a harsh reality to face when struggling with opioid use disorder. Insomnia is characterized by irregular sleep and an inability to fall asleep. Lack of sleep affects a person’s overall mood, energy level, professional and personal life, health, and quality of life.
Depression is a difficult pill to swallow. It’s a cloud that hangs over a person impacting their motivation, energy, mood, and overall enjoyment of life. Those who experience depression due to an opioid use disorder have more than likely been abusing the drug for a long time.
Even when this is the case, other mental health disorders may exist at the same time. Though sometimes depression can come before a substance use disorder, it can also result from a substance use disorder.
Severe Lack of Judgment
Those who suffer from any sort of substance use disorder oftentimes also suffer from a severe lack of judgment. When someone experiences a lack of judgment, they make decisions that have severe consequences.
This could include things like:
- Unprotected sex
- Driving under the influence
- Self-harm or other reckless activities
Those who suffer from opioid abuse tend to also struggle with financial issues. Oftentimes they will borrow money from family or ask for it from their loved ones. Also, those suffering from opioid use disorder perform poorly at work, leading to termination.
How Do Opioids Affect You?
Opioids have the following effects on those who abuse them:
- Shortness of breath
How Does Opioid Misuse Impact You?
Opioid abuse can cause a myriad of health problems for any individual. Substance misuse results in physical dependence and mental strain on a person’s life.
As with any substance use disorder, dependency ensues when a substance enters the body, and the brain adjusts to it. After this, prolonged abuse results in withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult for anybody to quit.
Some symptoms of withdrawal include the following:
- Mood swings
- Muscle aches
Does Opioid Abuse Have an Effect on Mental Health?
Those who suffer from any sort of SUD are likely also suffering from a mental health disorder. In fact, those who suffer from opioid misuse are usually also suffering from depression and anxiety. This can result in prolonged substance misuse.
How Does an Opioid Use Disorder Contribute to Depression?
10% of those who were prescribed opioids at some point experienced symptoms of depression within a month.
For those who took opioids for longer than a month, the percentage of those who developed depression increased. Because of this, one may conclude that opioid use impacts a person’s mental health, especially in the area of depression.
Oftentimes, those who are already depressed will use opioids to self-medicate. Those who self-medicate do so most often to escape their mental illness.
When someone self-medicates, they tend to make themselves better for a short period of time; in all reality, they are making themselves worse in the long run.
What Treatment Options are There for Opioid Use Disorders?
Many treatment options are available for those suffering from opioid use disorder. Some of these include the following:
- Inpatient treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Medically assisted detox
Inpatient Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders
Inpatient residential treatment is a method of care in which those who participate do so overnight for an extended period of time. This treatment is usually fit for those suffering from severe substance misuse.
This can last anywhere from 28 days to over six months (depending on the severity of the substance use disorder). Inpatient residential treatment involves weekly, sometimes daily, therapy. Room and board are covered in this form of care.
Detox for Opioid Use Disorders
Medically assisted detox allows those suffering from an opioid use disorder to be weaned off drugs carefully. This happens under the supervision of professional medical personnel. Certain medications are administered to patients to help combat withdrawal symptoms.a
Get Started on Your Recovery Journey Today
Substance use disorder is difficult to live with, but getting better is not impossible. There are many programs available for those looking to heal.
At Illinois Recovery Center, our goal is to treat each individual’s unique set of needs so they can get better in their own time. If you or a loved one are interested in discovering more, you can contact us here.
What is the most common treatment for opioid use disorder?
Among individuals seeking treatment for opioid use disorder, the most common form of treatment is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT involves the use of FDA-approved medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, in combination with behavioral therapy and other support services. The goal of MAT is to reduce the frequency and severity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to abstain from opioids. In addition, MAT can help to improve overall functioning and quality of life. Numerous studies have shown that MAT is associated with better treatment outcomes than either medication or behavioral therapy alone. As a result, MAT has become the standard of care for treating opioid use disorder.