Four Signs That a Loved One Could be Addicted to Opiates

Four Signs That a Loved One Could be Addicted to Opiates

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it has been estimated that 26 million people around the world suffer from substance abuse disorders related to prescription opioid painkillers. If you are worried that a friend or relative could be amongst these millions, then you’re probably already aware that it can be difficult to determine whether or not they have an addiction problem, at least at the beginning. According to the experts, there are many opiate addicts who exhibit no outward signs or symptoms of their addiction, which can cause problems for supportive family members or friends trying to get to the root of the problem so that they can offer help. Of course, the longer somebody struggles with an opioid addiction, the more signs there will likely be. Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for.

#1. Drowsiness

Since opioids are depressants, a sure sign that somebody is struggling with an addiction to opioid painkillers is extreme drowsiness. If your loved one is sleeping more often than usual and begins to uncontrollably fall asleep in inappropriate situations, for example, during a meal, this could be a cause for concern. Of course, bear in mind that this could simply be a side effect of prescription painkillers, so it’s important to take into consideration how long they have been on the medication. If you’re wondering how long does it take to get addicted to opiates, click the link for more information.

#2. Flu-Like Symptoms

Although everybody gets coughs and colds from time to time and it’s usually no cause for alarm, if your loved one is suffering from persistent flu-like symptoms, especially during warmer times of year, or if the symptoms tend to disappear and then re-appear again, this could be a sign that they are struggling with an addiction to opiates. Flu-like symptoms aren’t a viral infection in the case of an addiction to opioids, but rather symptoms of withdrawal when the user is unable to get enough of the drug.

#3. Change in Sleep Habits

If your friend or relative once slept at the same time each night and rose early in the morning with a good routine, a change in their sleeping habits could be cause for concern. When an individual is struggling with an opioid addiction, it is not uncommon for them to sleep more than normal when using the drug, but then if they run out, it can go to the other extreme with the individual displaying insomnia-like symptoms.

#4. Lack of Personal Hygiene

If your once well-groomed and immaculately put together loved one suddenly stops caring as much about their appearance, this could be a sign that they are struggling with an opioid addiction. Keep your eye out for smaller, physical signs that they could be abusing opiates, for example, shaving less frequently, taking fewer showers or foregoing hair appointments. It’s also important to look out for changes in behavioral habits, for example, overspending or taking more sick days off from work.

These are just some of the main symptoms to be aware of if you are concerned that a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction. Would you like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Amy Scalia
Publisher & CEO - Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at From growing up in the cornfields of Harrison and getting a Mass Communications B.A. degree in the bubble of Oxford, to living on the NKY side of the river in Newport and then Ft. Thomas, Amy Scalia has embraced Cincinnati with her presence. Her major life accomplishments include: being a mom of two girls and a boy, a 2010 "40 Under 40" recipient from the Cincinnati Business Courier, winning the "Best New Product/Service of the Year" Award from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a national Web-writing award from ASHPE in 2007, a national feature writing award from ASBPE in 2006, and running three Flying Pig Marathons.