The first step toward treatment for a drug addiction problem like opiate addiction is recognizing its signs and symptoms. Opiates can include heroin, fentanyl, synthetic opioids, morphine, and prescription painkillers.

Opiate Addiction Signs

Opiate addictions aren’t particularly visible to the untrained eye until the addiction becomes so severe it is unavoidable. As the nationwide opioid epidemic has proved, opioid addiction can happen to anyone, unsuspectingly. The most obvious sign is drug paraphernalia which can include bottles, syringes, or burnt spoons. The more subtle signs can go unnoticed, like needle marks under the sleeves if a loved one is intravenously abusing heroin.

Quick, dramatic changes in mood which fluctuate from a sleepy drowsy melancholy to anxious anger and energy, are a sign of opiate abuse as well. When an opiate addict doesn’t have opiates in their system, they get depressed or agitated. Once they get the dose they need to stave off withdrawal symptoms, they quickly switch to being calm and tranquil.

Physical signs and symptoms of opiate addiction include:


  • constricted pupils
  • fatigue
  • impaired coordination
  • slowed breathing
  • slowed heart rate
  • slowed reflexes


Diagnosis Of Opiate Addiction

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), which is typically used to make a clinical diagnosis of opiate addiction, there are seven criteria that may indicate the disorder. In order to be diagnosed with a true opiate addiction, a person must meet three or more of these bullet points:

1) continued opiate use despite acknowledged harm to life and well-being

2) excessive time spent pursuing, using, recovering from, or discussing opiates

3) growing tolerance to opiates (needing larger amounts to achieve the same effects)

4) unsuccessful attempts to quit

5) using opiates more than intended

6) withdrawal symptoms (physical and psychological)

Opiate Addiction: Can It Be Treated?

Opiate addiction can be treated and many people find lifelong abstinence from opioids after treatment. The first step is for the opiate addict to recognize that they have a problem. If you are struggling with opiate addiction, you are not alone.

There are two main types of treatment for opiate addiction: inpatient treatment and outpatient. By helping addicts better understand their addictions and how to break them, relapse can be prevented. Behavioral therapy, group therapy, individual counseling, and family counseling sessions have all been proven to help in addition to modalities that heal the body and the spirit.


Opiate addiction is entirely treatable. Every day, millions of people use opiates for the very last time. Make yesterday your last time. For excellence in addiction treatment, call Cypress Lake Recovery to learn more about our programs of care for opiate addiction: 866-217-2636