Question #1: Do you often use opioids in larger amounts or over a longer period than you intended?
You might have been prescribed a low dose of an opioid painkiller after an invasive surgery or sports injury. Within several weeks you increase your dose without consulting your prescribing physician. If you use opioids in larger amounts than recommended or for a longer period of time than intended, you might be struggling with a diagnosable opioid use disorder.
Question #2: Have you wanted to cut back on opioids or made unsuccessful attempts to do so?
Perhaps you have attempted to cut back on your dose of opioid painkillers, or you have attempted to quit using heroin on your own with little to no success. People who struggle with opioid addiction often attempt to cut back or quit with little to no success. This is one telltale sign of a substance use disorder.
Question #3: Do you spend a great deal of time finding, using, or recovering from using?
People who struggle with opioid addiction develop a preoccupation with their drug of choice. They spend a great deal of time contemplating how they will get their next “fix,” and the majority of their day is consumed by using their drug of choice and recovering from its effects. If you spend a great deal of time obtaining opioids, using opioids and recovering from symptoms of use, treatment is likely necessary.
Question #4: Do you have strong urges or powerful cravings to use opioids?
The psychological cravings which go hand-in-hand with opioid dependence can be intense and overwhelming. You might feel a powerful urge to use which overwhelms all of your other thoughts and seems to plague you until you finally cave in and pick up. Urges to use are a good indication of an opioid use disorder.
Question #5: Has your use of opioids resulted in your inability to meet your obligations at work, home, or school?
Many people who struggle with addiction find it impossible to carry out their day-to-day tasks because they are so preoccupied with using their drug of choice. If you have been struggling with an opioid use disorder, there is a good chance you have had a difficult time meeting your personal obligations. Your performance at work or school has likely declined, and you have a difficult time taking care of personal responsibilities around the house.
Question #6: Have you had to cut back on or abandon social, professional, or recreational activities due to your use of opioids?
As the use of opioid narcotics slowly takes over your life, you start abandoning activities you previously enjoyed. You spend more time alone and less time with your loved ones. Everything takes a backseat to opioid use.
Question #7: Have you repeatedly used opioids when it was hazardous to do so, such as while driving a car?
People who struggle with addictive disorders often begin engaging in more risk-taking behaviors. They might combine opioid narcotics with other chemical substances like alcohol, or get behind the wheel of a car while they are high. If you have been engaging in more risky behaviors than normal, you might be struggling with an addiction.
Question #8: Have you experienced social or relationship problems due to your opioids use and kept using anyway?
Maybe your friends have expressed concern about your opioid use, and you have pushed them away as a direct result. Maybe your family members have encouraged you to seek treatment and set personal boundaries to protect themselves mentally and emotionally. People who struggle with opioid addiction often experience strained interpersonal relationships and continue using regardless.
Question #9: Have you kept using opioids knowing that it has caused or worsened physical or mental health issues?
If a medical doctor or psychiatric professional has recommended you stop using opioids but you continue to use regardless, you might be struggling with a physical opioid dependence.
Question #10: When you attempt to cut back on or stop your use of opioids, have you experienced uncomfortable physical or mental health symptoms (withdrawal)?
The physical and psychological symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal can be harshly unpleasant. If you attempt to cut back on the amount being taken or quit entirely, you might experience severe stomach cramping, restlessness, insomnia, severe anxiety and body aches and pains. Withdrawal is an undeniable sign of physical dependence on a substance.
Question #11: Have you needed more opioids to feel the effects you’re seeking (tolerance)?
Over time, your body becomes accustomed to the presence of opioids. The chemistry of your brain changes, and you develop a physical tolerance. This means more of the drug is required in order for the desired effects to be produced.