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Opiates are a group of drugs used to treat pain. Natural opiates are derived from opium, which is extracted from the poppy flower. While these drugs are helpful for those in pain, they are addictive.

Beginning Phase of Opiate Addiction

Opiates are narcotics. Over time, a user of narcotics can build tolerance to the drug. This mean higher doses of the drug are required to relieve pain. If the user becomes addicted to the drug that person can no longer stop using it without help.

Signs that a user has become addicted may not be noticed individually. But as more signs become clear it may indicate a problem. One sign is taking the prescription in any way other than prescribed by a physician. When asked the user may deny any problems yet becomes agitated when needing another dose.

Other symptoms include behavior changes; lack of grooming, sleeping more, avoiding friends and family, and weight loss. Report these symptoms to the user’s physician even if there may be doubts as to the seriousness of the problem.

Second Phase of Opiate Addiction

The beginning signs of opiate addiction are easy to miss. But the next phase of opiate addiction is easy to recognize. During this phase, the addict will shop for doctors who can prescribe more narcotics. He will complain about one doctor who restricts dosage, and search for another who will prescribe more. At this phase, it’s common for opiate addicts to have a list of three or more doctors that will prescribe medication.

Opiates are expensive. As tolerance increases, so does the cost of getting narcotics. So, the addict will look for better ways to achieve a high. He may crush the pills and snort them like cocaine. The addict may turn to street drugs like heroin. It is a cheaper alternative but much more dangerous. Heroin can be laced with other substances and the purity of the drug is never guaranteed.

At this stage, the symptoms are more obvious. If the addict does not have access to the drug, withdrawal symptoms will emerge. Withdrawal symptoms can be mistaken for the flu in the early stages. But the symptoms disappear with another dose of the opiate.

Last Phase of Opiate Addiction

If the addict does not receive help for opiate addiction before or during the first two stages, further symptoms can occur. The addict may show respiratory distress or heart disease. Malnutrition is common as are emotional and psychological problems.

The addict is unstable at this stage and there’s a potential for overdose. Without intervention, death may occur.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a meeting with the addict to discuss how his behavior is affecting his family, his employer, and anyone else directly affected by his behavior. An intervention is asking the addict to get help and needs to be done with love. As it can be an emotional meeting for everyone involved, it’s best to contact an intervention specialist to guide the event.

When to Consider an Intervention

Opiates are dangerous and can cause death if the addiction is not treated. Those addicted to opiates are not easily persuaded to stop using. Family members will need a professional to help persuade the addict to get help. Consider an intervention as soon as symptoms of opiate addiction become clear.

How to Get Help?

If a loved one is showing signs of opiate addiction, contact Northlake Recovery for help to find an intervention specialist. Intervention is the first step towards recovery. Once your loved one agrees to recovery, we are ready to help. Call Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616.

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