Opioid abuse is all too prevalent in America and around the world. According to 2019 statistics, 10.1 million people 12 and over misused opioids in the past year. 9.7 million misused prescription pain relievers, while 745,000 used heroin. 


Opioid addiction is not easy to fight, but if you catch it early on, you have better chances of overcoming it. Therefore, it’s important to spot dependency issues before they get out of hand. This article will discuss the signs of opioid abuse, so you know what to look out for.


Which Drugs are Opioids? 

There are three main types of opioids as follows: 

  • Natural opiates like alkaloids are nitrogen-based chemical compounds that can be found in plants. They include codeine, morphine, and thebaine. 
  • Semi-synthetic opioids are created in labs and made with natural opiates. They include hydromorphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin. 
  • Fully synthetic artificial opioids include pethidine, fentanyl, dextropropoxyphene, methadone, tramadol, dextropropoxyphene, and levorphanol. 

Opioids can further be broken down into legal and illegal drugs. All the drugs listed above are legal except for heroin. However, many people become addicted to opioids, including prescribed varieties, and take amounts that exceed the legal dose. 


How Do Opioids Affect the Body? 

When opioids enter the body, they bind to receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and the central and peripheral nervous systems. They block pain signals that travel from the brain to the rest of the body and are often prescribed for pain relief. 

The drugs also activate the rewards center in the brain and release endorphins that increase feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. When those ‘good feelings’ wear off, a person wants them back. This is the main reason why opioids are so addictive. 


What are the Signs of Opioid Addiction? 

The first signs of opioid abuse include increased tolerance. You will begin needing more of the drug to get the same pain-killing and euphoric effects. 

You may go to a doctor and ask for an increased dose. If your request is denied, you may begin sourcing your drugs from the street. This can be a dangerous proposition as the drugs could be mixed with dangerous ingredients. Many people turn to heroin when they can’t find the opioids they need to fuel their addiction. 

Other signs of opioid use are withdrawal symptoms. These occur because the body gets so used to having the drug in its system that it is unable to function without it. Common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include: 

  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety 
  • Restlessness
  • Digestive issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Teary eyes


People know that the only way to get rid of these symptoms short-term is to do more of the drug. They are part of what makes it so hard to quit. 

Other signs of opioid abuse include: 

  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Dishonest behavior 
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of self-care
  • Lack of interest in the things you once loved
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal difficulties
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased libido


What Opioid Treatment Program is Most Effective? 

With opioid addiction being such a prevalent issue, you can bet that there are plenty of rehabs that offer treatment. But determining which program is most effective is not easy to do. 

It’s important to choose a facility that works out customized plans that are best suited to each client’s needs. They should take a dual diagnosis approach that simultaneously treats the addiction and its underlying cause. A good staff-to-patient ratio and a pleasant environment are also important. 

When you consider all these factors, you will find that Refine Recovery checks off all the boxes. 

Refine Recovery is a boutique luxury drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility in the upscale neighborhood of Beverly Hills. We offer world-class, individualized addiction treatments in Southern California, a judgment-free, compassionate staff, and multiple paths to recovery. We provide assisted detox and residential care and follow-up with comprehensive aftercare planning. 

Opioid addiction is difficult to overcome but being aware of the signs of opioid abuse can help you address it early on. If you detect dependency issues in yourself or a loved one, do not hesitate to reach out to Refine Recovery. We will assist you in attaining the high quality of life you deserve.

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