It is never an easy thing to come to terms with the fact that a loved one may be abusing opiates. For parents, the fact that your child is engaged in substance abuse can be a devastating blow to your sense of security, as you have helped guide that child throughout their entire life, only to arrive at a place where they now rest beyond your guidance. For siblings it can be tremendously difficult to watch your brother or sister turn into someone that you do not recognize under opiates’ dreadful guise, and as a significant other, nothing is more heartbreaking than watching the person you love and have chosen to spend your life with fall into a terrible cycle of addiction.
Due to how devastating watching a loved engage in addiction can be, sometimes it is easier for the individual to resort to denial as a means to continue to live their life and not experience the full weight of their circumstances. While some on the outside may judge this disassociation and not understand how you are not addressing your loved one’s addiction head on, it is often times never that simple.
For one when it comes to dealing with addiction, loved ones are often times left in the dark, even though they are the closest people to the addict. This is in part because no one is truly equipped to handle addiction within their family or group of friends. It is such a foreign concept to most people, especially those that have not dealt with addiction first hand, that even making an attempt to cope with the feelings and issues that are arising out of your loved one’s addiction can be overwhelming and almost impossible.
Secondly, addiction is an illness that creates a shroud around itself. It causes the individual engaged in the addictive behaviors and those closest to them to constantly question their senses. All parties involved will understand on some level that something is amiss but putting their finger on the fact that the issue is substance abuse is not always straightforward and easy. Imagine if you will that your son is abusing opiates. You have an inkling that this is occurring and you begin to question him about it. The first conversation results in a blow up where he vehemently denies it and then yells at you for even thinking that this could be the case. Now imagine that this occurs 30 to 40 more times. At what point does a person just get tired of arguing and give up. At what point do they result to questioning their own senses and their own logic as a means to continue to operate in their daily life and not totally breakdown.
While this last statement may sound like an over exaggeration, it is what loved ones of addicts are facing day in and day out all across the world. They wake up not knowing if there will be money missing, and if there is money missing some will even begin to question whether or not they had the money in the first place. They go to sleep at night not quite sure if their loved one is okay, and throughout the day they are plagued with a notion that something terrible is just around the corner.
Living under the domain of addiction is terrible for everyone involved, and so if you can relate to anything written above, please continue to read on, and understand that you are not alone in your struggle.
The information presented below is meant to help guide you through the mental twists that may have occurred due to your loved one’s addiction. It is meant to help unravel what it is really going on in your household, so that you can not only take care of yourself and begin to trust your senses again, but also possibly get your loved one the help they so desperately need. Below are the most common signs of opiate abuses and if you find that your loved one is exhibiting these signs of opiate abuse then it may be time to take action.
SIGNS OF OPIATE ABUSE
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of all of the signs of opiate abuse, it is the most common ones that most opiate addicts will exhibit at some point during their active addiction. As each individual’s circumstances are different, how they will express their addiction will differ as well, but it is fair to say that if you are even thinking that your loved one has an opiate problem, then they more than likely do. Think of it like this, has anyone ever questioned whether or not you had an opiate problem? If you don’t have one then more than likely the answer is no.
As a loved one of an addict you have to begin to educate yourself on what is going on, not only within the addict, but within yourself as well, so that you can regain control of your life and make the hard choices that may come in the near future.
In the past this was a much more common sign of opiate abuse, but due to stricter enforcement in this area doctor shopping has become increasingly more difficult for addicts throughout the country. This is not to say that it still does not occur and if your loved one has an opiate problem then they more than likely have attempted to procure opiates or opioids from a doctor at times when they have run low on their supply. If you find that they are going to doctors more often, or going to different doctors with a suspicious frequency then they may have an issue with opiate abuse.
DRAMATIC SHIFTS IN MOODS
This is probably the most glaring sign of opiate abuse in an individual and it will appear at times that you cannot predict what type of mood your loved one will be in at any given moment of day. If the opiate addict is a teenager it may be easy enough to attribute these mood swings to hormones, but when it comes to opiate addiction, the overall mood change is so dramatic, from whom the person was to who they currently are, that it is fairly undeniable that something is going on. If you notice as well that your loved one can go from being almost manic to quiet and depressed, then this may be indicative of an opiate problem.
Another one of the common signs of opiate abuse is withdrawing from social engagement or activities that they once loved. This is something that can occur slowly over time, or in a quick and sudden burst, but when it comes to opiate addiction, individuals almost always begin to isolate themselves. There are a number of reasons that this occurs, but mainly it is because the individual needs to hide the fact that they are using opiates, which can be tremendously difficult, and because they have to devote a great deal of time to their addiction. This means that almost anything that does not contribute to the addiction itself must be put aside so that the can maintain their using.
Being addicted to opiates can be an incredibly expensive endeavor. All the money that your loved one has or makes goes to continuing their addiction and staving off withdrawal symptoms. So when it comes to signs of opiate abuse, having financial problems is one of the easiest ways to spot that an addiction is in progress.
MISSING MONEY OR ITEMS AROUND THE HOUSE
Going along with financial problems is that fact that more than likely if your loved is abusing opiates, they will begin to steal from you and the household. This sort of comes with the territory of addiction, and while no addict wants to steal, it is something that many have to do in order to keep their addiction going. Since being addicted to opiates is so expensive, many times addicts will resort to stealing from those closest to them, because they know that they will more than likely not face legal troubles as a result and because of their proximity to the money or items.
This sign of opiate abuse is not always easy to spot as many addicts are fairly adept at hiding their anxieties, but if you do notice that your loved one appears to be more nervous or jittery then normal, it could be a sign that something is going on. The reason is that addiction is a fairly anxiety producing illness, in that the individual afflicted has to constantly balance their addict lifestyle with outward appearances of normality. Not to mention that they live under the constant threat of withdrawal symptoms, which is enough to put anyone on edge.
LOSS OF WEIGHT / CHANGE OF APPEARANCE
Most opiate addicts, especially those that are further along in their addiction, are unable to mask their physical appearance. They more then likely look pale, grey, and sickly and they more then likely are dramatically underweight. This is not always the case, but if you find that your loved one has lost a good deal weigh and their appearance has changed quickly, then they may be suffering from an opiate addiction.
NODDING OFF, OR LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Another indicator that your loved one may have an issue with opiates is if they begin to nod off or fall asleep when it is not appropriate for them to do so. For instance if you are at the dinner table and your loved one all of sudden appears to fall asleep mid sentence, then they may be suffering from opiate addiction. There are few other things on this planet that can cause an individual to react this way, so more than likely if you find them nodding out, it is because they are abusing opiates.
It is fair to say that many addicts lack in their ability to discern between good judgment and poor judgment. This is a main characteristic of addiction because in order for the individual to continue on in their addiction they must to a certain extent ignore their own instincts that are telling them to stop. They have to trust individuals that they do not know with their money and with their life and they ingest powerful narcotics of an unknown origin on a daily basis. All of this creates a scenario where the addict actively participates in poor judgment and decision making behavior on a daily basis, most of the time against their own will. As a loved one of the addict you can spot these lapses of judgment fairly easily, as you intimately know your loved one and how they usually act. So if you find that your loved one is engaging in risky behavior or poor judgment, it may be time to step in a say something.
Memory problems are common sign among all forms of addiction and opiate abuse is no different. While opiates do not necessarily cause blackouts like other substances, they can greatly impair the individual’s ability to remember events or things that they say. In fact you may find that you have a conversation with your loved one and when you reference it a day or so later they have no recollection of that conversation occurring. The same thing can be said for certain actions taken by the addict, where they may not remember entire days or things that they have done. As the loved one of an addict this can be frightening and frustrating as you realize that your loved one is operating in the world being only half aware of the things that they are doing. So if you have arrived at a place where you realize that your loved one is having an issue remembering the things they have said or done, then it is probably time to take action and try to get them help.