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What Do the Early Stages of Opioid Addiction Look Like?

by Nick

If you take prescription opioids or have a history of using them recreationally, you may worry about developing an addiction. Opioids are known for their incredible risk of addiction. However, like any disease, opioid addiction has an effective treatment. The earlier you can get help, the sooner you can manage your symptoms. Learn more about the early signs of opioid addiction and possible risk factors.

Opioid Use Disorder Risk Factors

Some people have a higher risk of opioid addiction due to factors such as:

  • Financial problems
  • Personal or family history of substance use
  • History of legal issues or crime
  • Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety

Many other risk factors for opioid addiction exist, and having any of these traits does not mean you will develop an addiction.

First Stages of Opioid Addiction

Everyone has a unique experience with opioid addiction and recovery. However, many cases of addiction go through a similar cycle in the early stages. The early stages of opioid addiction can include:

1. Experimentation

Many people who become addicted to opioids started with experimental use. For someone who uses opioids recreationally, they may try the drug for the first time with friends or to relax. A person with an opioid prescription might start taking it in a different way than recommended by their doctor.

2. Regular Use

When someone starts to regularly misuse opioids, they develop a pattern of use. They may misuse them on the basis of time, such as every weekend. During this stage, they might also only misuse opioids in certain circumstances, like when they feel stressed.

3. Problem Use

As an addiction develops, the person’s misuse begins to negatively impact their life. The opioids start to cause legal, social, emotional or medical issues related to their misuse. A person building an addiction might begin to act differently.

4. Dependence

During the dependence stage, the person continues to use opioids even as they experience harm. They may begin to have withdrawal symptoms when they stop using opioids, building a physical dependence. The person might also develop a tolerance where they need more opioids to feel the same effects as before.

5. Addiction

As someone becomes addicted to opioids, they can’t stop using them. Opioids begin to become a major focus in their life and get in the way of their other obligations. They may also experience health problems and have difficulty functioning in everyday life.

What to Do If You Think You Have an Addiction to Opioids

If you think you have an opioid addiction, know that judgment-free help is available. Today’s opioid addiction treatment centers offer many options for care and value your privacy. When you go to one of these clinics, you can request a screening to see if you have an opioid addiction.

If you need opioid addiction care, you can find a program that fits your needs and lifestyle. Both inpatient and outpatient services exist for treatment.

Get Help From Health Care Resource Centers

Health Care Resource Centers (HCRC) helps patients in New England take their lives back from opioid addiction. Schedule a screening and intake today by contacting our team online.

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