Editor’s Note: This post was written by our Family & Consumer Sciences intern, Caroline Triay, University of Maryland Communications major, Class of 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that drug overdose has become the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. Over 70,000 people died in 2017, and nearly 50,000 of those deaths were because of opioid and prescription drug misuse.
Many opioid addictions start at home. Leftover prescription pills and shared medicine cabinets can make these drugs easily accessible to the whole household.
Not only does abusing opioid prescription drugs damage physical health, but it also takes a toll on mental wellbeing. Leaving mental health untreated when recovering from addiction can cause additional burdens on the abuser making the recovery process more painful.
Opioid misuse is linked to anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Opioids could also potentially become a gateway to other drugs such a heroin. Psycom shares helpful tips on spotting opioid addiction:
- Consuming opioid drugs for longer or larger amounts than prescribed
- Spending prolonged time using or obtaining the drug
- Craving opioids
- Opioid use interferes with everyday routines such as school, work, or home life
- Continuing to use drugs even if they strain relationships
Once it is clear that you or a loved one suffers from opioid addiction, immediate action should be taken to address the medical concerns that come with withdrawal. Because mental illness may arise in the recovery process of opioid abuse, it is necessary to strengthen wellbeing through additional programs. Psycom also includes effective treatment options that address mental illnesses that could develop.
- Addiction and depression peer group support
- Intensive counseling
- Additional medication for addiction and depression
- Customized treatment plan
- Family counselling
The opioid epidemic has become a serious and deadly problem in the United States. Know the addiction risks of taking opioids, and be cautious of taking medications, using them as prescribed by your doctor. Your physical and mental health are at stake.
For more resources, or to learn more about how Extension is working to strengthen communities dealing with this issue, go to https://go.umd.edu/iiC.