3 Definitive Signs of Opiate Addiction


The United States is in the grips of a growing epidemic involving heroin which shows no signs of abating. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 1.6 percent – or 4.2 million people – in the country who are aged 12 and up have tried heroin at least once. This figure is obtained from 2011 data. Researchers have spent the last several years trying to piece together the factors that are fueling this epidemic.

Factors Leading to Heroin Addiction

While some of these Americans started out using heroin, many more became addicted to this street drug after prescribed opiates in an effort to manage their pain after being injured or as the result of surgery. Fortunately, there are specialized heroin detox centers that are designed to provide the in-depth services needed to address this addiction. Many people find that becoming addicted to opiates is something that seems to have crept up on them almost unexpectedly. However, there are signs that point to an addiction – if you know what to look for.

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Signs That You Could Be Addicted to Opiates

Like other addictive substances, an addiction to opiates is typically noted by the presence of both physical and emotional signs. While the following list is not exhaustive, it does cover the three most definitive symptoms of opiate addiction.

1. Increased use

If you find that the amount of opiates that your doctor has prescribed is simply not controlling the pain where it did so in the past, chances are you are addicted. Your body demands more of the substance in order to provide you with the same kind of relief that you are used to. You might even find yourself increasing your use of opiates in spite of negative consequences from those around you. These could include disapproval from people who are important to you, such as your family and/or friends, or the threat of a job loss.

2. Withdrawal symptoms

Many people who are taking opiates truly believe that they can stop doing so at any time. They don’t realize just how much their bodies are counting on these medications to keep them free of pain and other, extremely unpleasant symptoms. If you are like numerous patients who tried to stop taking opiates and then experienced withdrawal symptoms, then you are likely addicted. Some symptoms of withdrawal include sweating, diarrhea, anxiety, vomiting, fatigue, nausea, and an inability to sleep and more.

3. Using heroin

The sensations experienced by users of heroin closely mimic those of opiates. This is why many people turn to this street drug as an extension, or instead, of opiates. For many people, heroin is a cheaper alternative to opiates that allows them to stretch out their prescriptions. Numerous others, though, turn to heroin after they have exhausted their prescriptions or when their medical provider will no longer give them refills.

Purdue Pharma is the manufacturer of OxyContin, one of the most popular and often abused opiates. There is a growing body of evidence that the company continued to market and tout the benefits of the drug in spite of knowing how addictive it is. Hopefully the new year turns the page on heroin and opiate addiction in the US. We will see.

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