Narcotics addiction is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
There are many physical and psychological elements that come with the compulsion and progressive disease known as narcotics addiction. As the body develops a tolerance to the dangerous drugs that are so widely known as narcotics, physical dependence and addiction occur. Narcotics addiction is a dangerous disease that can cause a lifetime of complications for the user and may even lead to death if left untreated—but there is help.
The manner by which an individual becomes addicted to narcotics can be as a direct result of having recreationally used drugs to get high or as a result of using narcotics for a legitimate purpose such as for the treatment of pain following surgery or injury. Regardless of how the individual becomes addicted to the drugs, the ending result is much the same – the addiction takes over and there is simply nothing else important in life except the fueling of the addictive tendencies.
If you or someone you love is suffering from a narcotics addiction, call our helpline at (800) 407-7195(Who Answers?) to find treatment.
Signs of Narcotics Addiction
There are a number of signs of narcotics addiction that most people can easily spot. As a user, the very first sign that addiction could occur is the tolerance that builds to the drug and leads to increased use. If you are using painkillers or other narcotics and notice that you have begun to use more and more of the drug to produce similar effects, there’s a good chance that addiction is on the verge and that you could suffer from a great deal of addictive consequences if you leave the situation untreated.
Now, this doesn’t mean that anytime a user develops a tolerance to a drug he or she will become an addict—but tolerance is one of the first signs of narcotics addiction that people who use these drugs should be on the lookout for.
Other signs of narcotics addiction include:
- Lack of physical appearance or hygiene
- Suppressed feelings about things that used to be fun or to make the user happy
- No longer taking part in activities that were once fun or exciting and instead spending time doing drugs
- Suffering from physical withdrawal symptoms when drugs are not used
- Showing psychological symptoms when narcotics are not used
- Being irritable or agitated when narcotics are not available
- Using narcotics without a prescription or using more than prescribed
- Using narcotics despite family problems or relationship problems that result from the drug use
- Spending money on the drugs when you don’t really have money to spend
These are just some of the major signs that appear when narcotics addiction is a problem. Additional signs and symptoms are always possible and, as the addiction progresses, there are likely to be many other signs and symptoms that present.
Withdrawal when narcotics are not being used are another major symptom of addiction. When the body has withdrawal symptoms, this means that the body is craving narcotics and feels like it has to have them in order to level out or feel right.
Some of the possible withdrawal symptoms associated with narcotics addiction include:
- Stomach cramping
- Irritability and agitation
- Anxiety and heightened fear
- Pain in the muscles, joints or bones
- Flu like symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, cold chills
These symptoms will usually begin about 12 hours after the last dose of narcotics and can last anywhere from 3 days to 10 days or more. For most addicts, the symptoms of narcotics withdrawal will typically peak around the 5th day and then they will begin to gradually taper off and become more bearable or easy to deal with.
Treatment for Narcotics Addiction
If you think that you or a loved one is suffering from narcotics addiction, don’t give up hope. There are many different treatment options available to those who are dealing with narcotics addiction and who need help. For the most difficult to treat narcotics addictions, especially those which started with a legitimate use of the drugs for the treatment of chronic pain, it may be necessary to attend an inpatient program for a period of about 90 days before returning home or to a sober living environment to complete extended counseling.
Some people benefit from simple counseling and support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These programs provide peer support and usually have group meetings periodically throughout the week so those in recovery are able to meet up with others and share their stories of struggle & triumph as they go. Sometimes, peer support is the best medicine for people who are making their way, day by day, through the ups and downs of recovery from addiction to painkillers, opiates or other narcotics.
For more information about narcotics addiction, or for help finding treatment, call (800) 407-7195(Who Answers?).