Although couples promise to love and cherish one another in both sickness and health, you probably never imagined yourself wondering, “How to help my husband with drug addiction?“. Sadly, opioid abuse has a terrible way of sneaking up on both the people who use these substances and those who love them. In fact, many opioid users begin taking these drugs at the recommendation of their doctors.
These powerful, pain-relieving agents are frequently prescribed for post-surgery pain management, as part of cancer treatments, and for a vast range of additional injuries and illnesses. Even as patients get better, they find themselves still needing to take these medications to maintain their sense of balance and general comfort.
They may even start taking more opioids than initially prescribed. With pain pills, particularly those that are opium-derived, it’s not uncommon to start lying or stealing to acquire additional drugs after prescriptions have run out. Due to their highly addictive nature, prescription opioids have led countless people to illicit or street drugs in order to satiate their fast-growing habits. Opioid addiction can affect anyone using:
Opioid addiction can also affect those using or misusing methadone, meperidine, and oxycodone among many other opium-derived or synthetic opioid substances.
If you suspect that you’re living with an addict, and believe opioids to be the problem, seeking help for your spouse is the best thing that you can do to protect his health, and to ensure the emotional well-being of everyone in the home.
It can be hard to tell for certain when someone is misusing a prescription drug, or when someone has become fully addicted to substances like fentanyl or oxycodone. This is all the more true when a spouse has started taking opioids at the recommendation of a doctor, and hasn’t veered too far away from his normal habits and behaviors.
One thing to note, however, is that long-term use of opioids always leads to physical dependency. Moreover, even short-term misuse of these products can lead to dependency. Once a person has become physiologically dependent upon these drugs, stopping them outright or evening weaning off of them will invariably result in painful withdrawal symptoms.
When a person uses more of a drug than has been prescribed, or when a person has been using illicit opioids for an extended period of time, this individual’s tolerance will increase. This results in a need to use opioids more often, and in larger amounts. Thus, if your spouse has a full-blown addiction to opioids, there are sure to be tell-tale signs that you can look out for.
The Physical Signs of Opioid Abuse
Opioid addiction is brutal. These drugs leave people feeling lethargic, unable to focus, unable to effectively communicate, and unable to handle a variety of day-to-day tasks. When people are prescribed opioids as pain pills, they are generally advised to avoid driving, operating heavy machinery, and engaging in any other coordinated activities that require quick reaction times, critical thinking, or general clarity of mind. When high on opioids, a person might:
- Have excessively small pupils
- Nod off frequently, even while in conversation with others
- Have noticeably shallow or slow breathing
- Have a general look of sedation and an overall lack of energy
However, as people become increasingly dependent upon opioids, these are symptoms that can manifest even when they aren’t actively high. Whether having recently used or looking to use opioids, addicted individuals can also suffer from constipation, nausea, and other forms of digestive upset. If your husband has been prescribed pain pills but you believe that he’s been turning to street drugs to supplement the effects of these medications, you can also look at his arms or legs for tell-tale “track marks” or needle scars resulting from intravenous use.
Opioid Use and Withdrawal
Perhaps the most noticeable signs of drug use in your husband will be those that appear when he’s unable to access his drug of choice. People who are physically dependent upon opioids and do not have access to them tend to experience heightened emotions, visible frustration and anxiety, and even outright panic as time wears on.
Opioid users can become sleepy and excessively fatigued, even as they wrestle with sleeplessness and restlessness. A person might yawn and stretch continuously, and yet fidget nervously non-stop. As withdrawal progresses, your husband may deal with:
- Nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps
- Leg cramps
The more opiates that a person normally uses, and the longer that he’s been addicted; the more intense the symptoms of withdrawal are likely to be.
The Psychological and Behavioral Signs of Opioid Abuse
Just as opioid addiction is brutal on addicts themselves, it can be especially difficult on their spouses and children. As the wife of an addict, you’re probably doing more than your fair share of parenting, financial management, and general household support. In addition to this, your partner is probably becoming increasingly emotionally unreliable as the days wear on.
Opioids can cause intense feelings of elation and euphoria for extended periods of time. With ongoing use, they will start to alter a person’s brain chemistry. As this happens, opioid users have a very hard time feeling any sense of happiness or personal satisfaction without being high. As a result, opioid users often:
- Avoid social situations
- Isolate themselves for extended periods of time
- Experience rapid and dramatic changes in their moods
Opioid addiction can quickly affect a person’s ability to go to work and manage all other personal responsibilities. As the consequences of substance use disorder mount, your husband may become increasingly secretive, start lying to cover drug use, or use manipulation and other unpleasant tactics to justify his actions.
How Opioid Abuse Can Affect Your Relationship
Given the effects that opioids have on brain chemistry, it is virtually impossible for people who struggle with opioid addiction to make their marriages a top priority. Their first loyalty is always to their substance of choice. Being without it can be both physically and emotionally excruciating.
Although opioids can be successfully used to alleviate the pain of legitimate illnesses and injuries, their negative effects can far exceed their benefits in instances in which users succumb to their addictive properties. People who are addicted to these drugs cannot effectively parent their children, and they cannot be reliable contributors in mutually fulfilling relationships.
The good news is that all is not lost. You can continue to love and cherish your partner through sickness and health, and without sacrificing your future to an enabling, and mutually damaging relationship. With professional treatment, many men have been able to break the incredibly strong bonds of opioid addiction.
At Recovery Bay Center, we offer medically assisted treatment for opioid addiction. These services provide access to medications that both mitigate and minimize withdrawal symptoms, while simultaneously expediting the removal of drugs and their toxic byproducts. These treatments make the journey to sobriety infinitely easier, safer, and more comfortable. Our patients also have access to numerous forms of mental health support, group therapy, and holistic therapy among other services.
If you recognize the signs of drug use in your husband and want to get him the help he needs, we’re here to provide it. Call us today at 833-991-2955.