In today’s world we are all masters of disguise on some level. Between social media’s standards of life and success, and the need to feel like we are keeping up with, not just the Joneses anymore, but the Kardashians as well, we all put on some kind of front.
Your value is measured and supported by how well you are able to present yourself. Consequently, to maintain a sense of self worth, we learn to wear a mask, portraying that everything is great in our world.
This is why identifying people who are in crisis becomes more challenging nowadays. Those in need have adapted the ability to show less indication of a problem until the problem becomes more severe. This is partially because of the desire to keep up a social front and partially because (in the case of opioid addiction) this ability to deceive allows a continued use of the drugs that have biologically and psychologically taken hold.
When the use of opioids has reached the level of addiction, the drive to continue using is incredible. Addiction is a condition in which something that started as pleasurable now feels like something you can’t live without. Doctors define drug addiction as an irresistible craving for a drug, out-of-control and compulsive use of the drug, and continued use of the drug despite repeated, harmful consequences. Opioids are highly addictive, in large part because they activate powerful reward centers in your brain. At some point taking the drug feels like less of a choice and more of a need, coming at an individual from more than one angle. There are physical, psychological and behavioral components to addiction. According to the Mayo Clinic:
PHYSIOLOGICAL – Physical dependence is a physical condition caused by chronic use of a tolerance forming drug, in which abrupt or gradual drug withdrawal causes unpleasant physical symptoms
PSYCHOLOGICAL – Psychological dependence is generally meant to describe the emotional and mental processes that are associated with the development of, and recovery from, a substance use disorder or process addiction.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that brain abnormalities resulting from chronic use of heroin, oxycodone, and other morphine-derived drugs are underlying causes of opioid dependence (the need to keep taking drugs to avoid a withdrawal syndrome) and addiction (intense drug craving and compulsive use). Addiction and dependence create BEHAVIORAL COMPONENTS.
According to the National Association of Anesthesiologists, people addicted to drugs may change their behavior. Possible signs include:
- Mixing with different groups of people or changing friends
- Spending time alone and avoiding time with family and friends
- Losing interest in activities
- Not bathing, changing clothes or brushing their teeth
- Being very tired and sad
- Eating more or less than usual
- Being overly energetic, talking fast and saying things that don’t make sense
- Being nervous or cranky
- Quickly changing moods
- Sleeping at odd hours
- Missing important appointments
- Getting into trouble with the law
- Attending work or school on an erratic schedule
- Experiencing financial hardship
Identifying behavioral changes is a helpful way to see past a facade. If you notice any of these changes in a friend or loved one, it may mean they need help. If you find they are suffering from opioid addiction, they will require professional guidance. Not sure where to turn? Consider the caring specialist at Freedom Healthcare Services. Our goal is to customize a recovery process based on the specific medical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of our patients. Give us a call if you need help assessing your needs or the needs of a loved one.