Do you know someone who may be addicted to opioids? It's not always easy to tell when someone is struggling with an addiction. But there are some warning signs that may indicate that a person is seeking out opioids for abusive purposes.
Due to the burgeoning opioid crisis, doctors are now more aware of the signs of opioid seeking behavior and are better equipped to deal with it. However, if you are the primary caretaker of a loved one who is struggling with pain, you may be wondering whether their pain medication is really helping them, or if they're just seeking out opioids for the high.
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If you're worried that a loved one may be addicted to opioids, it's important to be aware of the signs so you can help them get the treatment they need. In this blog post, we will discuss some signs that may indicate opioid seeking behavior.
What is Opioid Seeking Behavior?
Opioid seeking behavior is a set of actions and behaviors that indicate a person is addicted to opioids and is seeking out the drug for abusive purposes.
People with this behavior often become preoccupied with obtaining and using opioids and may put themselves in dangerous situations to get the drugs they need. If someone you love is struggling with pain, you may not immediately recognize the signs of opioid seeking behavior.
Some of the common warning signs of opioid seeking behavior include:
1) Exaggeration of Pain Symptoms
People who are addicted to opioids may exaggerate their pain to get more medication from their doctor. Even if the injury or illness has healed, they may continue to complain of pain to get more drugs.
Complaining of phantom pain or feeling pain in different parts of the body that are unrelated to the original injury is also common among people with this behavior.
2) Frequent Emergency Room Visits
People addicted to opioids may visit the emergency room frequently to get more pain medication. They may come up with different or new injuries each time they visit.
If a loved one is frequently visiting the emergency room or urgent care more than normal, it may be a sign that they are addicted to opioids.
3) "Doctor Shopping"
Is your loved one changing doctors frequently? Do they have a different doctor every time you see them? If so, they may be "doctor shopping" to get their hands on more opioids.
Doctor shopping is when a person visits multiple doctors and/or pharmacies to get multiple prescriptions for the same medication. This is often done so that the person can get more of the drug than they would if they were only seeing one doctor.
4) Running Out of Medication Early
If your loved one is taking opioids for pain relief, they should have enough medication to last them until their next refill. However, people with opioid addiction may start running out of their medication early.
They may claim that they lost their pills or that the medication isn't working as well as it used to. This is often a sign that they are taking more of the drug than they should.
Taking more painkillers like opioids increases tolerance, which leads to addiction. People with this behavior may also start asking for higher doses of their medication or for more potent drugs.
5) Asking for Specific Medications
Another warning sign that a loved one may be addicted to opioids is if they start asking for specific medications by name. For example, they may ask for OxyContin or Percocet, rather than just asking for a painkiller.
Doctors often notice that these people have unusual knowledge about certain drugs that they are asking for. They may act aggressive or demanding when asking for their medication, which can be a sign that they are struggling with addiction. They are also often not interested in other methods of treatment, such as physical therapy or over-the-counter medication.
Help Your Loved One Get the Treatment They Need
If you believe that your loved one is showing signs of opioid seeking behavior, it's critical to get them treatment as soon as possible. Addiction to opioids is a serious problem that can lead to overdose and death.
There are many treatment options available for people struggling with this disease. If you're not sure where to start, you can contact us to guide you through the process.
We can help you find a treatment program that meets your loved one's needs and can help them get on the road to recovery.