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How to Spot an Addiction to Opiates

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, please call our partner facility today:
The PAC Program
(866) 516-8266


The first step in getting treatment for an Opiate addiction is for the individual to be clinically diagnosed by a medical health professional. For diagnosis, the professional will look at the symptoms displayed by the individual. These symptoms can also be spotted by an individual’s loved ones who suspect an Opiate addiction.

Apart from symptoms that can be diagnosed by a medical professional, there will also be other signs that can reveal whether an individual has an Opiate addiction. Some common signs are seeing the drug itself, or related paraphernalia like pill bottles, syringes, and bent spoons. The individual may also have physical signs like needle marks on their body or behavioral signs like mood swings.

There are a number of physical symptoms of an Opiate addiction:

Constricted pupils
Impaired coordination
Slowed breathing
Slowed heart rate
Slowed reflexes
Diagnosis of Opiate Addiction
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) there are 7 criteria that can indicate an Opiate addiction, and an individual must meet 3 or more to be diagnosed. These criteria are:

Continued use of Opiates despite harm
Excessive time spent trying to obtain or recover from the effects of Opiates
Ignoring other activities or obligations in order to use Opiates
Developing a tolerance to Opiates and needing to take more of the drug to produce the same effects
Unsuccessful attempts to quit taking the drug
Using Opiates more than intended, either more in quantity or for a longer period of time
Experiencing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms
It is possible to treat an Opiate addiction, however, it is not an easy task. It is up to the individual with the addiction to first recognize that they have a problem. If they are unwilling to do so, then it might take an intervention by loved ones to confront the individual with their problem. Once the person is willing to go into treatment, then they have two options; inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment.

Inpatient treatment requires the recovering patient to stay in a hospital or rehab center for a period of time. Usually, a detox from the drug is carried out during this time. Inpatient treatment is also recommended for those with a severe addiction.

Outpatient treatment does not require the individual to stay elsewhere, and they can stay at home and attend therapy and counseling regularly. This could be a couple of times a week or every day, depending on what the individual needs.

Medications may also be used during Opiate addiction treatment to alleviate the individual’s withdrawal symptoms and speed up the detoxification process. Psychological treatment is also required, and the person will have to attend one on one therapy sessions, group therapy or family counseling.

Blueprints provides support for young adults facing addiction recovery. Call us if you need help for your loved one who is struggling to quit opiates or other addictions. Our staff and programs support individualized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors and get them on the path to recovery and healing.