What You Need to Know

When it comes to addiction, opiates are among the most powerful, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening substances a person can abuse. Opiates are powerful drugs derived from the poppy plant that are prescribed to relieve pain in medical settings. The problem, however, is that when abused, opiates have an intensely euphoric effect that causes people to habitually use them and become dependent. Unfortunately, this type of addiction can lead to a plethora of physical, mental, emotional, and social problems.

Physical Symptoms of Opiate Addiction

Physical symptoms are among the most apparent signs of a substance abuse disorder, especially when dealing with opiate addiction. Individuals suffering from opiate abuse or addiction can experience tolerance and physical dependence, meaning they need increasingly larger doses of opiates to get the same high or to avoid going through the painful symptoms of withdrawal. Other physical symptoms may include rapid weight gain, severe constipation, insomnia, skin discoloration, and shallow breathing.

Mental Symptoms of Opiate Addiction

In addition to physical symptoms, opiate addiction can lead to mental health issues. These can include diminished cognitive abilities, poor decision-making, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. People struggling with opiate addiction may also experience cravings—intense urges to use the drug when not using it. These cravings can be strong and influence an individual’s behavior in a negative way.

Social Suffering From Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction can also lead to social problems for an individual. These problems can include social withdrawal, deteriorating relationships, problems at work or school, and financial difficulties. People with opiate addiction can often put their drug use before all else and forget about the things that matter most in life, like relationships and career goals. This can have a major impact on the quality of life a person experiences.

Treatment for Opiate Addiction

For individuals suffering from an opiate addiction, there is hope in the form of treatment. Treatment typically includes a combination of detox, therapy, and support groups, and it is important to find a treatment program that best fits an individual’s needs. The goal of treatment is to help individuals overcome their addiction, learn how to manage their cravings, and develop healthier coping skills to deal with their life stressors.


When it comes to opiate addiction, it is essential to recognize the physical, mental, and social signs of the disorder. If you know someone who is suffering from an opiate addiction, it is important to encourage them to seek help and get into a treatment program. With the right treatment and support, individuals can recover from their addiction and reclaim their life.

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