Recognizing the Signs of Opioid Dependence

It’s easy to overlook the signs of drug dependence when you’re taking a prescription medication. You might think that because it comes from a doctor, it’s always safe. Unfortunately, some medications, like opioids, have an effect on the body and brain that put you at risk of dependence and addiction.

Approximately 21%-29% of people who take prescription opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them. This issue, known as opioid use disorder, is a medical condition that describes not being able to abstain from using them. As a result, a patient can become so focused on opioid use that it interferes with everyday life.

While a doctor may prescribe opioids to help someone manage chronic pain or recovery after injury or surgery, it’s important to know the warning signs of dependence. Whether it’s you taking them or a loved one, learning to recognize issues early on can help address problems before they progress.

At Coastal Pain Medicine in Pompano Beach, Florida, Dr. Patrick T. Brennan can work with you or a loved one to overcome an opioid use disorder with the help of Suboxone® treatment. Our one-on-one approach and expertise in opioid addiction can help you move past dependence so you can reclaim a happy and healthy life. 

It can be difficult to know when someone uses opioids as prescribed or when opioid use has crossed the line into reliance. Dr. Brennan recommends watching for these signs.

Signs of opioid dependence

When someone uses opioids to manage pain, it’s easy to assume they crave their next dose as a way to ease their discomfort. However, opioids are highly addictive by nature.

Because of this, you should always be wary if you or a loved one craves opioids in a way that seems uncontrollable. In fact, it’s a definite red flag if their desire to take more opioids interferes with their ability to enjoy the present moment.

Similarly, you should be concerned if your loved one isolates themselves so they can use opioids as often as the desire strikes.

Additional signs of opioid dependence include:

If these symptoms sound familiar because you’ve noticed them in yourself or a loved one, it’s time to get a medical professional like Dr. Brennan involved. Not only is opioid dependence serious, but it can develop into addiction quickly — and that comes with significant risk. Each day, over 120 people in the United States die of an opioid overdose.

Finding help for opioid dependence

Opioid use disorder often requires professional help to reduce cravings, withdrawals, and to prevent relapse. Dr. Brennan can discuss the signs and symptoms you’ve observed surrounding opioid use. This helps him identify opioid dependence so he can outline a personalized treatment plan.

At Coastal Pain Medicine, we often recommend treatment with Suboxone, which blocks the opioid effect and helps reduce withdrawal symptoms. Our addiction recovery services can help connect you with psychosocial support while also setting you up with safe alternatives to manage your chronic pain and reduce opioid dependence. 

Are you worried about opioid dependence? For more information about addiction and your available treatment options, contact us at Coastal Pain Medicine by calling 954-284-0996. You can also request an appointment online.

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