How to Spot an Opiate Addiction

How to Spot an Opiate Addiction

Spotting opiate addiction begins by recognizing signs and symptoms. Treatment for opiate addiction begins with clinical diagnosis by a qualified health professional. Learn more about signs and symptoms of opiate addiction and how to get help for addiction.




If someone is suspected of suffering from opiate addiction, it is important to recognize signs and symptoms. Some common signs of opiate addiction include presence of the drug itself or opiate paraphernalia. This may include pill bottles, syringes, needle marks, behavioral signs or mood swings. Opiate addiction can cause a person to become agitated or depressed.




Physical symptoms of opiate addiction include the following:

  • constricted pupils
  • fatigue
  • impaired coordination
  • slowed breathing
  • slowed heart rate
  • slowed reflexes


Diagnosis of Opiate Addiction


According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), the diagnosis for a true opiate addiction means a person must meet three or more of the following criteria:

  • Continued use of opiates in spite of harm to relationships or self
  • Excessive time spent in connection with opiates, trying to obtain them or recovering from opiate’s effects
  • Opiates take precedence over everything else including activities or obligations
  • Tolerance of opiates has built up to needing more drug for the same effect
  • Unsuccessful attempts to quit taking drugs
  • Using opiates more than intended
  • Withdrawal symptoms including physical and psychological withdrawal (typically alleviated when person takes drug again)


Addiction Symptoms-Treatment


Addiction symptoms can be treated through a long and arduous process. The first step is to admit a problem exists on behalf of the individual using opiates. If a person cannot see a problem exists it will be hard to get the individual treatment. Two main types of treatment exist: inpatient and outpatient options. It is an individual determination as to which will be most beneficial:

Inpatient: involves person with addiction staying in hospital or rehab center overnight for several nights in a row. Typically the best treatment during detox and for individuals with addiction

Outpatient: does not require overnight stays but people must attend therapy or treatment including counseling sessions with therapists

Many options exist to help an individual with addiction seek treatment for addiction to opiates. It is important to find the best fit for each individual situation. One may not be a good fit due to finances (inpatient) but outpatient may not provide enough structure. The key is to find what works and stick with the program. After treatment ends, it can be helpful to connect with sober living groups with others who experienced something similar. The journey can feel lonely without help from others who have been there. It does not have to be lonely when traveled with others who understand.

The Villa seeks to provide information and resources to individuals and families struggling with addiction. If you need help quitting opiates, call us to find out how we can help you recover and heal.