How Can You Tell if Someone is Addicted to Opioids?

How Can You Tell if Someone is Addicted to Opioids?

Learn the signs

Opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.  But how can you tell if someone is addicted to opioids versus using them appropriately to manage pain?  Read on for some signs of addiction.

Physical Signs of Addiction


You can’t tell
someone is addicted just by looking at them. 
However, there are some physical signs you can look for.  And if you see them over and over they can
indicate a problem. 


For example, you may
notice someone is drowsy almost sedated and seems confused.  Pupils that are constricted can also indicate
opioid use.  You may also notice euphoria
– a state of intense excitement.  Someone
who loses consciousness or has slow breathing can also be showing signs of


Another common
physical sign of addiction is constipation. 
However, even using opioids as prescribed for legitimate reasons can
cause this particular symptom.


Behavioral Signs of Addiction


While physical signs
can be a clue, one’s behavior can give a better picture of possible
addiction.  This is not about something
that happens one time – rather it’s about a pattern of behavior.


A dramatic change in
behavior or mood swings can be an indicator of a problem.  If someone was once very outgoing and now
begins to become socially isolated along with other factors you may be seeing
signs of addiction.


Addiction to drugs
can be an expensive problem.  First you
have the cost of the medications and second you may have decreased income when
you’re experiencing physical symptoms and can’t work.  So if you notice a big change in financial
circumstances it can be a sign of addiction.


You may also notice
that someone is doctor shopping.  This
happens when one doctor stops prescribing the addictive medications or won’t
prescribe a higher dose.  The addict then
shops for another doctor to prescribe higher doses or just more of a


While this can still
happen, pharmacies are doing more to track prescriptions so that it’s harder to
fill multiple prescriptions for opioids. 



Withdrawal Signs


Withdrawal is
another sign that someone has addiction. 
Even someone taking opioids as prescribed can experience physical
withdrawal.  And in some cases withdrawal
can be dangerous.  It’s important to be
medically supervised when trying to stop taking opioids.


Signs of withdrawal
include headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety, and
sleeplessness when the drug is removed from the system.  It can seem like the affected person has the
flu when really it’s just a result of the body withdrawing from the medication.


How to Help


Noticing that
someone is addicted to opioids can be heartbreaking.  You may want to help a friend or family
member kick this disease.  It’s nearly
impossible to handle opioid addiction without professional help.


First a person must
safely detox from the drugs in order to get them completely out of the
system.  This requires medical
intervention.  The next steps include
therapy and long-term 12 step programs to address the psychological aspects of


It’s important not
to enable an addict by helping to financially support them or provide them with
the medications they’re seeking. In most cases it’s best to seek professional
help in order to help someone with this serious addiction.

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Rod Stone
Publisher and Supplier of Healthy Living information and products to improve
your life.

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