Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Signs That You Might Be Becoming Addicted To Your Prescription Opioids

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding opiate addiction. As an upstanding citizen who was simply prescribed some hydrocodone or oxycodone after surgery or to manage chronic pain, you may not think of addiction as something that can happen to you — but it can. Whether you just began taking these medications or have been on them for a while, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of possible opiate addiction so you can cut back or perhaps even seek treatment if you begin to feel dependent on these substances. The primary signs to look out for are:

You have to take more and more of the drug to have the same effect.

Maybe you started off taking 1/2 a hydrocodone pill twice a day. Now, in order to relieve your pain sufficiently, you have to take a whole pill three times a day. This tolerance is one of the earliest signs that you might be headed down the path towards addiction. Tolerance in and of itself does not mean you are addicted, but it definitely means you should cut back on your opiate use, explore other ways to manage your pain, and evaluate closely whether you're experiencing the other signs of addiction described below.

Your pain is more intense once the opiates wear off.

Assuming you are taking opiates for surgery or some treatable condition, the pain should subside over time. If it seems to be getting worse if you don't take your opiates, this is a sign of addiction. Your body is over-reacting by creating more serious pain when your opioid receptors are not being stimulated. It's so easy to respond by taking more and more pills, and that's when addiction sets in.

You feel ill or grouchy if you don't take your pills.

How do you feel if you are a little late taking your normal dose of opiate pain relievers? If you feel grouchy or irritable, or if others complain that you are irritable, this could be a sign of addiction. If you feel nauseous, weak, and generally ill — like you have the stomach flu — that is another sign that addiction is on the horizon.

Opiate addiction is a real problem, and it can happen to anyone. If you think you may be headed down the path towards addiction, don't wait. Reach out to an opioid addiction rehab center near you to learn about your options.