Opioid Dependence


Addiction is the psychological and behavioral impulses characterized by cravings, compulsion, and the inability to stop using despite negative consequences.

Substance addictions include alcohol, tobacco, opioids (painkillers or heroin), prescription drugs (such as anti-anxiety medications or sleeping pills), marijuana, cocaine, inhalants, and other substances. Each addiction has a different set of symptoms and effects on the body and each addiction has different options for treatment.

Signs of addiction include:images0BX4HNUB

  • Taking a substance more often and in higher quantities than intended
  • A desire to reduce use without success
  • Significant time used to acquire, use and recover from a substance
  • Feeling increased cravings for the substance
  • Reduced performance at work, home or school
  • Poor relationships with family, friends, and within social circles due to continued use
  • Engaging in risky behaviors that put oneself or others in danger
  • Inclination to criminal activity
  • Developing tolerance, requiring greater usage to achieve the same effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after reducing use (physical symptoms vary based on substance used)
It is important to first verify that a loved you suspect is suffering from addiction shows some of the signs mentioned previously. From there one should contact an addiction specialist and explore treatment options. The severity of the addiction and the types of substances being abused will greatly influence the most suited modality of treatment.
It is important to understand that addiction is no longer a voluntary response on behalf of the individual. When in active addiction a person has lost their choice in whether or not they use. Addiction is a chronic disease of the mind that has changed the functioning of the brain, affecting a person’s judgment, decision-making, reaction to stress, memory, ability to learn and behavioral control. It is invaluable when those supporting an addict gain an understanding of the addictive process. A solid support network is a major indicator of ones success in treatment. Similar to interacting with individuals who have other diseases, compassion, encouragement and positivity are a source of motivation to get treatment and help those in recovery persevere through the challenges that will arise.