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Learn about opium addiction and opiate addict behavior so you can detect when a loved one needs help.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists opium as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Most opioids are Schedule II, III, IV or V drugs. Opium is a highly addictive, non-synthetic drug that comes from the poppy plant, and it is the chief source for many other opiate drugs, including morphine, heroin, codeine, oxycodone and others. It is grown in many countries throughout the world and is generally sold as a liquid, solid or in powder form. It can be smoked, injected intravenously, or taken in pill form. Opium addiction and dependence causes physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped abruptly. Detoxification from opiates is safer and less difficult when medically managed under a doctor’s supervision. If you believe that a loved one may have an opium addiction, or dependence on any other opiate drugs, you should become familiar with what typical opiate addict behavior looks like:

  • The individual often appears to have no motivation.
  • He or she exhibits signs of depression.
  • He or she may randomly and unexpectedly appear to be hyperactive.
  • The individual is observed to be scratching a lot or feels itchy.
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Mood swings or erratic behavior changes are observed without warning.
  • The individual often acts irrational, or has a distorted perception of reality.
  • The individual has slurred speech or impaired coordination.
  • The individual is no longer social and has lost interest in things he or she used to enjoy.
  • The individual has committed theft, or is having legal troubles.

These are typical opiate addict behavior warning signs to watch for if you suspect that a loved one has an opium addiction. If you observe these signs, you should approach the individual and encourage him or her to seek help. While your efforts are worthwhile, individuals who are in denial about their addiction or not ready to get clean will typically not be receptive to getting help at first. It is important not to give up, because treatment for opium addiction can prevent your loved one and other struggling addicts from becoming drug overdose statistics.

Here are some drug overdose statistics as they relate to opiate addiction:

  • According to the CDC, the most common drugs involved in opioid overdose deaths include methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.
  • Every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for misuse of opioids.
  • Heroin related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010.
  • From 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates increased over 20 percent, with approximately 13,000 deaths in 2015.
  • Opioids were involved in over 33,000 deaths in 2015, with overdoses quadrupling since 1999.

If you spend enough time with a person who displays opiate addict behavior, you may be present when the addict eventually goes through withdrawal. When an opiate addict suddenly stops taking opiates, withdrawal symptoms will begin to appear that include:

  • Irritation or distress
  • Intense cravings for opiates that the individual is unable to hide in front of others.
  • Profuse sweating
  • Muscle aches and intense cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Suicidal thoughts

Opiate rehab facilities are very effective in helping those who exhibit opiate addict behavior to come to terms with their addiction. These facilities offer a variety of programs to address opiate addict behavior with a team that is comprised of addiction specialists, counselors, doctors and clinicians who work closely with each patient to help them break negative habits and adopt healthier lifestyles that support sobriety. Various forms of therapy are utilized to treat opiate addiction. These therapies include cognitive, behavioral, intensive psychotherapy, individual and group therapies, as well as medicinal treatment to help reduce cravings, anxiety, depression, or to address other mental health disorders.