What is Addiction?

Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects your brain and behavior. If you misuse a drug, its pleasant effects make you want to keep using it. Over time, your brain actually changes in certain ways so that you develop a strong desire to use the drug. Research has shown that people who use opioids over a long period of time become more tolerant of its pleasant side effects, which means they need more of the drug to experience the same effect. Someone struggling with opioid use disorder may not show symptoms right away. However, over time, there may be some signs that they need help.

Physical Signs 

  • Sleepiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Strong flu-like symptoms (nausea; throwing up; sweating; shaky hands, feet or head)
  • Constipation (trouble “pooping”)
  • Pupils get very small (pupils are the black circle in the center of each eye)
  • Eating more or less
  • Changes in weight
  • Wearing long sleeves or hiding arms

Behavioral Signs

  • Poor decision making
  • Change in attitude and/or personality
  • Avoiding family and/or friends
  • Changes in friends, hobbies, and/or activities
  • Forgetting or not caring about responsibilities
  • Drops in grades or performance at work
  • Secretive behavior
  • Depression
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Mood swings (moodiness, irritability, feeling nervous or upset)
  • Missing medicines