What are the signs of opioid addiction?

MastHead Outline
September 7, 2021

Opioid addiction is similar to many other substance use disorders but remains unique due to the nature of opioid drugs. They can lead to physical dependence very quickly, sometimes as little as 4-8 weeks. The most common signs of opioid use disorder are: 

  • Consuming larger quantities of opioid drugs over a longer period than intended 
  • Unsuccessful attempts at stopping or controlling opioid misuse 
  • Large amounts of time and effort spent on acquiring and using opioids
  • Intense cravings for opioids and opioid use
  • Difficulty maintaining work, school, and other life obligations 
  • Retreating from family and social life
  • Increased tolerance to opioid dosages 
  • Experiencing withdrawals when opioids aren’t used consistently 

When those who misuse opioids for an extended time abruptly stop their use, they experience severe withdrawal symptoms including flu-like aches and pains, vomiting, anxiety, insomnia, and intense cravings. These episodes of withdrawal often make it difficult for people to continue abstaining from opioid use and can lead to relapse.