Symptoms of Narcotic Dependence to Look Out For

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Do you or someone you know appear to be growing increasingly irritable? How about showing erratic bouts of depression and fatigue for no apparent reason?

Narcotics dependence is a major problem. The term “narcotics” covers a broad spectrum of drugs usually containing opium and opioid derivatives. Canvassed into this broad category, you usually find most of your prescription pain killers and medications – oxycodone, morphine and even hydromorphone. There are also the typical street drugs included such as heroin and opium. All of these drugs are extremely physically addictive regardless of how they are administered.

In medicine, narcotics are extremely useful in helping patients recover after traumatic injuries. It’s because of the analgesic properties of opioids that they are widely prescribed by physicians and healthcare professionals immediately following most surgeries or hospital visits.

NOTE: Now if you find yourself wondering if cocaine is classified in the same system as opioids, times have changed. While cocaine is traditionally considered in the same legal class as narcotics – it is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a stimulant.

It’s Easy to Become Dependent on Narcotics

If you start to get anxious, have headaches, or feel sick after 12-36 hours without narcotics you may be dependent.

Many of these narcotics are innocently enough prescribed to treat acute and chronic conditions but wind up either being abused by patients or sold on a derivative market.

The addictive properties of substances such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl can quickly consume your daily activities. Many opiates can be prescribed readily through a pain center or primary care physician, making their availability increasingly easy.

However, once the prescription runs out, many addicts can quickly find themselves scrounging through secondary markets to get their fix.

What are the Symptoms of Narcotic Dependency?

According to the National Institute of Health, here are some of the major symptoms of opioid addiction:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes

If you begin to experience any combination of these symptoms after you stop taking opioids, you may have developed an addiction to those substances.

Admitting Narcotic Dependency

It is difficult to finally admit to yourself and others that you’ve become addicted to narcotics. You need to understand the role that narcotics play in your life. Are you currently taking them to help your recovery from an injury or are you driving yourself deeper and deeper into addiction?

The first step is to admit to yourself that you have a problem. And the second step is to consult with your physician. He or she will know the role that opioids play in your medical care and be able to advise you on some of the recovery options.

Don’t wait Until It’s Too Late.

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Treatment for Addiction to Narcotics

Because narcotic dependency is relatively common due to the addictive nature of that class of substances, many really great treatment options exist. There are a number of behavioral therapies to help you understand and identify the thoughts and activities that might lead you to abusing a narcotic.

These behavioral therapies include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Community reinforcement
  • Contingency management
  • Peer-support group

Peer-support groups are a pretty common route that most narcotic addicts pursue because they offer long-term benefits and fulfill the need for each of us to define a new identity apart from narcotics abuse. Group therapy options and recovery programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Al-Anon offer a way for other addicts to provide peer support. And who knows, your path to recovery may be the motivation that someone else needs to begin their journey!

the Take-Away

Being dependent on narcotics means that your body has grown accustomed to having the substances in the system, and will crave them when they are not there.