Around the world, opioid abuse is a major problem that has affect the lives of millions of people. This dangerous addiction can ruin lives and livelihoods quickly, making it extremely dangerous for anybody. Learn everything there is to know about this epidemic, ranging from what opioids are to the common signs of opioid addiction, in order to assist in combating this decades long problem.
What is an Opioid?
An opioid is not a single drug despite this being a common belief. Rather, an opioid is a class of drugs that are traditionally used as pain relivers. These drugs are derived from a poppy plant that is known as the Papaver somniferum. While the sap from this plant has been used for multiple centuries to create natural opiates, an opioid is a man-made or synthetic variant that is far more potent. Some of the most common types of opioids seen today include:
As mentioned, the intended use for opioids when prescribed act as pain relievers for medicinal purposes is to offer relief of pain stemming from an injury or some other similar situation. However, opioids cause major endorphin release in the brain which are the “feel-good” neurotransmitters. In some cases, people become addicted to the sensation of the positive rush and it leads to a long and unhealthy path.
How Prevalent is Opioid Abuse?
Opioid use disorder is extremely common and affects over 16 million people around the world. In the United States alone, there are over 2 million people addicted to opioids. On top of this, there are well over 120,000 deaths related to this abuse on an annual basis. Given these levels, opioid addiction is considered to be a global epidemic.
Common Signs of Opioid Abuse
One of the best ways to stop opioid abuse in its tracks is to understand the common signs of addiction. This can allow you to help a person to seek out effective opioid addiction treatment which can contribute towards improving their life. The specific signs of opioid abuse can vary from person to person, but the most common signs include:
- Someone you know suddenly mixing up their friendship groups in abrupt and random ways
- A person spending an increasing amount of time alone and with only themselves
- Someone losing interest in a lifelong activity or passion suddenly
- Odd mood changes that you have never noticed before
- Sleeping at extremely odd hours compared to a normal schedule
- A general lack of hygiene or a sudden lack of caring for hygiene
- Sudden financial hardship that appears to have come out of nowhere with no noticeable cause
- Talking fast and saying things that don’t make sense while being overly energetic
- Noticeably being unable to go without medication despite that medication no longer being necessary
All of the above signs on their own may be unnoticeable to the everyday person, but when each sign is taken together it should be cause for immediate concern. If you have suspicions regarding somebody you know and opioids, think about how they have been acting in the past and how they are acting now to see if something has seemingly changed.
What to Do If Someone You Know is Addicted to Opioids
Recognizing that somebody you know is seemingly addicted to opioids is a daunting and scary situation. You may not feel as if it’s your place to bring up your concerns, but this could be the difference between life and death for that person. Have an honest conversation with this person to discuss your concerns openly so that you can address the issue.
When you or a loved one is ready to seek assistance, reach out to a medical professional such as those from ibogaine centers, who can help you. There are a number of accredited addiction specialists around the world who can assist you in finding the treatment you need for yourself or a loved one. Be aware that treatment is not an overnight process and it may take more than one try before addiction is overcome. As a friend or loved one, it’s important to stand by the person you care for as they work towards a healthier life.
Stay vigilant to protect those around you
Anybody can be a victim of opioid addiction regardless of their age, personal circumstances, or any other factors. Be aware of what opioid addiction is and what it looks like in a person so that you can recognize the common signs in those around you that you love or care for.