7 Opioid Addiction Signs and How to Get Treatment

opioid addiction signs

Are you concerned you or a loved one I addicted to an opioid? Discover the seven most common opioid addiction signs and what you should do if you spot them.

opioid addiction signs

All the talk in the news about the opioid epidemic has people concerned about their friends and loved ones. With an estimated 2.1 million people suffering from opioid use disorders, it’s no small wonder.

What’s often missing from those news reports is practical advice about opioid addiction. While 2 million people represent a serious problem, it’s a fairly small portion of the total population. How do you spot opioid abuse?

Keep reading and discover the most common opioid addiction signs and what you should do if you spot them.

1. Abandoning Activities

People lose interest in activities sometimes. It’s normal.

What falls outside of normal is when people abandon activities they invested in emotionally. A student quitting a beloved sport or a spouse quitting a lifelong hobby is suspicious.

2. Mood Swings

Opioids create a euphoria in people while using. When the drug wears off it can lead to a sudden depression. Read a cycle of extreme mood swings as a warning sign.

3. Unusual Lying

White lies make up a big part of the social fabric. We expect them in daily life.

A sudden uptick in lies, about money or where someone was, signals an unhealthy behavioral change.

4. Using Too Much

Doctors prescribe opioids for pain management. If you see a loved one consistently taking more than the prescribed amount, it’s a danger signal.

5. Using for Too Long

A prescription may contain more pills than strictly needed. Opioid prescriptions typically call for only two or three days of use. If a person keeps using beyond the two or three days, it’s another sign of addiction.

6. Social and Professional Neglect

Opioid addicts devote most of their mental resources to getting more opioids. That means they routinely neglect social obligation and their work performance becomes unacceptable.

7. Increasing Tolerance

The longer someone uses opioids, the more tolerance they develop. They need more and more of the drug to get that euphoria.


Opioid addiction treatment consists of two parts: detox and rehab.

Opioid detox is usually medication-assisted detox, like this detox program at Inspire Malibu. They use other drugs, like methadone or Suboxone, to wean you from opioids.

Rehab clinics specialize in the psychological side of addiction. You participate in groups, individual therapy, and even life skills classes. Rehab provides a foundation that you can build on toward a sober life.

The therapies a rehab clinic might use include:

  • cognitive behavior therapy
  • contingency management
  • twelve step programs
  • art therapy
  • music therapy

Parting Thoughts on Opioid Addiction Signs

It’s important to know the opioid addiction signs. You can’t help someone if you can’t recognize that they’re in trouble.

It’s also important that you don’t jump to conclusions. One or two signs doesn’t mean someone has an opioid addiction. They might not even use opioids.

Someone can neglect social obligation and show big mood swings because they suffered a loss. Those symptoms are also signs of grief.

As far possible, make sure that you know they use before you intervene. Accusing someone of using drugs when they don’t can damage relationships.

Looking for more info about treatment? Check out our post on picking the right rehab center.


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