One of the most tragic crises in recent times has been the opioid epidemic. Opioids accounted for 75% of the 91,799 drug overdose deaths in 2020. This crisis is spurred on by the incredibly addictive nature of this powerful painkiller.
This has led to serious concerns about how to protect yourself and those around you from painkiller addiction. Doing so starts with being able to recognize the signs that an addiction is present.
By the end of the article, you will be more aware of the signs of painkiller addiction and how to spot them. You will also find out more about safer treatment options for painkiller addiction.
What Are the Physical and Mental Effects of Opioid Abuse?
Painkillers, as a whole, are highly addictive because of the way they work. They directly interact with the brain by attaching to opioid receptors. This causes a surge of dopamine, the chemical in the body responsible for causing feelings of pleasure.
Dopamine, by itself, isn’t harmful at all. It is a natural chemical that your brain uses to reward you for doing certain activities to make you want to do them again. However, the amount of dopamine produced naturally is far less than what is produced when opioids spur on production. This imbalance can even lead to finding less joy in these regular activities since the amount of dopamine produced is much less than what is provided by the drugs.
This leads to a vicious cycle of addiction. Continually altering the brain in this way changes the way it functions. It creates a new baseline for a “good” level of dopamine that is much higher than the previous level. So, people using painkillers will need more and more to get the same feeling as before.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Opioid Addiction?
While this cycle is vicious and dangerous, there are ways to stop it. Doing so requires noticing the signs of addiction in the first place.
The most common symptoms are physical. These physical symptoms result from the wear and tear that using the drugs and stressing over the drugs causes.
These signs include:
- An increase in tiredness
- Dilated eyes
- General pain
- General withdrawal symptoms appear when the individual stops taking opioids.
What Do Opioid Addicts Act Like?
The change in how the brain processes dopamine will change the way a person behaves. Signs of this include:
- An unusually strong focus on opioids and less focus on everything else, including work and life responsibilities
- A constant concern that they have enough opioids and a constant drive to get more
- Engaging in desperate behaviors to get opioids, like faking symptoms to get them from a doctor or stealing them
- Continuing to use opioids despite facing problems from using them, such as issues at work, financial problems, or losing relationships with family and friends.
- Less interest in social activities or other activities they previously found enjoyable
What Effect Do Opioids Have on Personality?
Opioid use can cause profound psychological changes reflected in someone’s personality. These can also present through a number of different, noticeable signs. These include:
- An increase in anxiety
- An increase in irritability or dramatic mood swings
- A greatly disrupted and often erratic sleep schedule
- Mental problems like gaps in memory or moments of confusion
- General disinterest in the happenings around them
- General signs of depression
Treatment Options for Painkiller Addiction
Treatment for painkiller addiction is usually multi-faceted and includes several different approaches. These are necessary for managing all of the different problems caused by the fallout of using opioids.
Withdrawal includes a number of physical and mental problems that start as someone stops using something they are addicted to. This is particularly troublesome because it gives the addict more of a reason to return to the drugs since doing so will stop the withdrawal symptoms. So, managing the symptoms and the overall withdrawal process is necessary.
Therapy is often necessary for getting over an addiction. Different kinds of therapy can do this in different ways. These include one-on-one sessions, group therapy, and alternative types of therapy, like exercise or creative endeavors.
Alt text: Two people sitting in chairs and talking with each other
Medication Supported Recovery (MSR)
In some cases, medication can be used to help make treatment more accessible. The medication can help reduce withdrawal symptoms or eliminate further opioid cravings.
In addition, natural treatments can be used to help address issues. For example, many use CBD to get better sleep naturally, which can be helpful given how much opioids disrupt sleep.
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Does CBD Help with Opioids?
One potential route for seeking treatment for opioid addiction is through using CBD. This has the potential to help at various points in the recovery process.
Does CBD Relieve Withdrawal Symptoms?
The first step in the recovery process is managing withdrawal. This is the first place where using CBD can potentially be helpful.
CBD has shown some promise in managing withdrawal symptoms. Managing these painful and uncomfortable side effects makes it easier to avoid returning to opioids.
Can CBD Oil Help with Addiction?
While moving off of painkillers is the best way to treat a painkiller addiction, it doesn’t deal with every problem. After all, the painkillers were likely prescribed initially to deal with some sort of pain. This pain is often still present and provides a call to return to opioids.
CBD can also help with this. It has been used as a treatment for many types of pain by many different people. It is used for everything from specific leg pain to the general pain of aging. By helping to alleviate pain, CBD can provide less of a reason for someone to return to their painkiller addiction.
What Are Some Red Flags Associated with Opioid Addiction?
Some of the most common red flags associated with opioid addiction are a change in focus and the associated behaviors. The person addicted to the drug will start caring about it more and everything else less.
Can Opioids Change Behavior?
Yes, opioids can change behavior. They alter the brain and change the way it responds to the world as a whole. This can create a whole host of problems that all lead to a change in behavior.
What Do Opioids Affect in the Brain?
Opioids directly impact the brain because they bind to opioid receptors. This numbs pain and produces a rush of dopamine. Over time, this process changes how the brain responds to pain and pleasure.
How Long Does It Take for CBD to Stop Pain?
CBD takes different amounts of time to take effect depending on the individual using it and the CBD that is used. Individual biochemistry changes how long it takes for CBD to be absorbed. Meanwhile, CBD products like full-spectrum CBD tinctures will absorb much faster than CBD gummies. Overall though, CBD products generally take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to work.
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What Effects Does CBD Have on Recovery?
CBD is specifically helpful in assisting with recovery from painkiller addiction. Many of CBD's purported benefits align with the addiction's symptoms. For example, one symptom of addiction is anxiety, which CBD has shown results in treating.
Breaking Free from Painkiller Addiction with CBD
It is entirely possible to break free from painkiller addiction. However, doing so requires a plan. CBD can be a practical part of managing withdrawal symptoms from addiction and replacing painkillers. Just be sure to talk to a trusted medical provider before you take steps to break your addiction.