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What Are the Signs of Opioid Dependence?

a woman sits on a step on stairs with her hands to hear mouth appearing distraught about the signs of opioid dependence

People from all walks of life struggle with opioids across the United States and here in New Hampshire. Whether prescribed or bought illicitly, many people take opioids and maintain relatively everyday lives. Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive and challenging to stop without opioid addiction treatment. Synthetic opioids are increasingly potent, popular, addictive, and deadly.

If you or someone you love shows signs of opioid dependence, do not quit cold turkey. Call A Better State now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about our opioid addiction treatment in New Hampshire today.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are synthetic or semi-synthetic substances made from opiates. Opiates are a drug found in the opium poppy. Synthetic opioids are manufactured drugs that use the chemical structures of opiates to create more potent drugs. Morphine is the most common opiate used in hospitals for post-op recovery and end-of-life care. Heroin, a semi-synthetic opioid, developed in the late 1800s as a more robust alternative to morphine for hospital use. It is now a common illicit street drug. Both legal and illegal opioids are highly addictive and dangerous. Common opioids include:

  • Vicodin
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Oxycontin
  • Codeine
  • Methadone

Opioids are often prescribed for pain relief and work by blocking pain receptors in the brain and slowing the nervous system. This can provide euphoric feelings and dull physical, psychological, and emotional pain. Unfortunately, the more often someone takes opioids, the less effective they become. This is called “drug tolerance.” Someone can quickly build an opioid tolerance leading to a need for higher doses for the same level of pain relief.

Common Signs of Opioid Dependence

Dependence occurs when the brain becomes reliant on a drug to function. Medications like opioids release high dopamine levels, the chemical responsible for joy and euphoria. The more dopamine the brain receives, the more it wants. This is a natural response. Unfortunately, opioids change the brain quickly. Some signs of opioid dependence include:

  • Opioid cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Erratic behavior
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Lack of motivation
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in eating habits

These are only a few signs of opioid dependence. If someone struggles with unprocessed trauma or a mental health disorder, their symptoms may be more persistent and begin more quickly. It is possible to develop opioid dependence after only a few doses of legal or illegal opioids. Street opioids like fentanyl are laced with other drugs. This combination can be deadly.

Craving opioids, feeling you cannot live without opioids, crushing pills, combing drugs, and getting multiple prescriptions are all signs it’s time to seek treatment for opioid dependence. Because opioids change the brain, medically-assisted detox and medication management are the most common approach to treating opioid addiction.

Treat Symptoms of Opioid Dependence

While opioid dependence may not look the same for everyone, if you suspect someone you love is struggling with opioids, seek help today. If you’re ready for holistic and trauma-informed opioid treatment programs—A Better State is prepared to help.

Our trauma-informed and holistic outpatient center offer individuals struggling with opioid dependence, mental health concerns, or other addictions throughout New Hampshire two types of treatment: day and evening intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) as well as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). Our holistic, evidence-based therapy programs include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Art therapy
  • Yoga therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation therapy

12-step programs and specialty treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety help clients get to the root cause of opioid dependence to recover truly.

Learn More About What Opioid Dependence Looks Like at A Better State

Are you or someone you love struggling with opioid dependence? A Better State’s treatment programs help clients in New Hampshire recover from opioids and other substances. Our holistic, evidence-based therapy programs provide the support they need to rebuild their lives and find lasting recovery. At A Better State, our goal is to help clients find a better state of mind. Opioid abuse is treatable. Learn more about the signs of opioid dependence by contacting us at 781.412.1488 to find the right treatment plan for you or someone you love.