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There is around 21.5 million Americans suffering from substance use disorder. Which is more than the combined population of three states (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). And in America, over 91 people die every single day from an opioid overdose.

Opioid is a class of drug which include prescription drugs such as: oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, morphine, and others. As well as illegal drugs like heroin. This type of drug works by interacting with the nerve cells in the central nervous system and the brain to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.

What defines drug addiction?

Drug addiction is a relapsing, chronic brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking use. Despite knowing the inevitable harmful and painful consequences.

The reason addiction is considered a brain disease is because opioids, and other similar drugs, change the structure of the brain and how it works-in many cases, the change are long-term.

How does it start?

Addiction can start out in many ways. However, they often start with a person with an opioid pain reliever prescription. They are usually prescribed for serious injury or chronic pain.

As time passes, opioids become less effective, and the person with a painful injury will take more and more to get the same relief. The injured person will continue to up their dosage, through self-medication, and it will eventually reach a point where the addicted person can't satisfy their pain relief needs through a prescription.

Heroin can actually be cheaper and easier to acquire than prescription opioids, which is why the person may turn to heroin for their pain relief needs.

The more a person takes, the higher their tolerance becomes, and the more they need to take to get any effect. This is what can lead to an overdose either on prescription medication or on heroin. And the thing is, without immediate medical attention, overdoses usually become fatal quickly. There are studies available that show almost half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve not heroin, but prescription opioids.

12 signs of drug addiction

Addiction affects people of all backgrounds and incomes. Which is why it's important to know what the signs of drug addiction are, especially of those among the people you care most about. When there is an addiction problem, you might notice one or some of the behavior changes listed below:

1. Unplanned weight loss

Opioids can cause a change in a person's metabolism, resulting in sudden and unexpected weight loss.

2. Drowsiness

You may notice the person nods off unexpectedly. For example, during a meal, in the middle of a conversation, or while watching TV.

3. Old habits may reappear

Old habits, that had disappeared may reemerge. For example, someone who had quit smoking may have taken it up again. 

4. Sleep habits change

You may notice that the person's sleep habits have changed. They may be sleeping a lot more or less than is normal for them.

5. Flu-like symptoms appear frequently

Excessive opioid use can give a person fever, nausea, and headache. The frequency of these symptoms is not viral, but often a result of the opioid.

6. Changes in personal hygiene

Aspects of personal hygiene may fall to the wayside. This is things like shaving or hair care suddenly stop being attended to.

7. Work routines change

A usually punctual person, they start showing up to work late, or skip work altogether.

8. Addicted person starts to steal

You, or colleagues of the addicted person, may notice items around the home or workplace start to disappear. In most cases, these are sold to raise cash in order to help support a drug addiction.

9. Relationship changes

The addicted person may spend less time with friends who were once very important to them.

10. Libido diminishes

Estrogen and testosterone levels can change-which alters the addicted person's interest in sex.

11. Spending becomes erratic

It is not uncommon for you to notice household cash to unexpectedly disappear. There are also unusual credit card charges that start appearing on the monthly statement.

12. Reduction in energy levels or physical activities

It is in common for an addict to stop or reduce their workout routines.

In case of an overdose

In case of an overdose call emergency services right away (911). Signs of an opioid overdose include:

  • Person cannot be awakened or is unable to speak.

  • Face becomes extremely pale and/or feels clammy.

  • Person vomits or makes gurgling noises.

  • Breathing or heartbeat slows or stops.

  • Body goes limp.

  • Lips or fingernails have a blue or purple color.

How treatment can save a life

It is possible for people struggling with substance abuse to return to a productive, healthy life. There are programs available to treat substance abuse, such as acupuncture and medication assisted treatment. One could even consider using TGM Kratom Capsules

If you have questions, please talk with your health provider.