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How to Spot: An Opioid Addiction in 2022

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction.

We’ll also discuss how you can identify someone with an opioid abuse problem and what you can do if you think a loved one might be struggling with addiction.

Article at a Glance:  

  • Signs of Opioid Abuse
  • How to spot Addiction in Yourself or Others
  • The Signs of an Overdose
  • Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction
  • Behavioral Therapy and Medications
If you or a loved one are seeking refuge from an opioid addiction, you can contact More Life Recovery 1 (888) 825-8689 for 24/7 customer support.

What are the Signs of Opioid Abuse?

There are a variety of signs and symptoms that a person may show when they are suffering from opioid addiction. According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs of opioid addiction include:
  • Regularly taking an opioid in a way not intended by the doctor who prescribed it, including taking more than the prescribed dose or taking the drug for the way it makes a person feel
  • Taking opioids even when not in pain
  • Mood changes, including excessive swings from elation to hostility
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Borrowing medication from other people or “losing” medications so that more prescriptions must be written
  • Seeking the same prescription from multiple doctors, in order to have a “backup” supply
  • Poor decision-making, including putting himself or herself and others in danger
Increased sleep patterns, irritability, confusion, and hallucinations are also common in people who live with an addiction to opioids. But aside from that, you may notice a few key things. If your talking with your friend and they start nodding off, this can be a sign of opioid misuse.
People can take opioids for a long period of time and still maintain their lives and function outwardly. Meanwhile, all of this time they are getting deeper and deeper into their addiction. One day, they will need to take the pills just to wake up. They will start using the pills in between work at lunch, or in the bathroom.
Soon people will start wondering what is up with their friend… but by then, they will be in full blown active addiction.

How to spot Addiction in Yourself or Others

Some of the signs of addiction include an individual no longer being able to function in life without the substance. They might have a physical dependency on the substance, withdrawing from loved ones and friends, or being unable to form lasting relationships. This is usually because once a loved one is in active addiction, they really can’t function without the pain killers or heroin. It becomes the only thing they can think of. Instead of showing up for Christmas, they are waiting for seven hours in a parking lot for their dealer to meet them. This seems more important to them because they are more than likely physically dependent on the drug at this time. According to Johns Hopkins,
“It takes a couple of weeks to become physically dependent on an opioid, but that varies by individual. If you take an opioid for a day or two, it should not be a problem and, generally, you may not become addicted. However, some studies show even the first dose of an opioid can have physiological effects.”

The Signs of an Overdose

If you believe someone you or someone you love is having an overdose due to opioid abuse, you must call 911 immediately. There are a few things that can be done for your loved one if they are still alive when you find them.

People who become addicted to opioids will often exhibit the following signs when overdosing:
  • Blue skin, usually starts with lips and fingertips
  • Body is limp
  • The person may be conscious or unconscious, but is unable to respond in both instances
  • Person is making choking or gurgling noises
  • Breathing very slowly, irregularly or has completely stopped
  • Pulse or heartbeat is slow, erratic or nonexistent
  • Vomit
  • Losing consciousness

Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction

Treatment for addiction to opioids is a combination of behavioral therapy and medications. It varies depending on the severity of the addiction, but typically includes counseling, group therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Treatment may also include medications such as methadone or buprenorphine maintenance programs.


Opioid addiction can cause many different types of emotional and physical problems. It is important for people to get treatment before the addiction becomes so severe it starts to affect their health. If you or someone you know has any of these signs, it’s important to seek help immediately.
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