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Worried About Using Opioids?

Table of Contents


Overview

Opioids are used to relieve moderate to severe pain. They may be used for a short time, such as after surgery, or for long-term pain when safer options don't help.

Opioids don't cure a health problem. But they may help you manage the pain and help you function better.

Opioids or other medicines that contain them include:

Can you get addicted to opioids?

Opioid use disorder means that a person uses opioids even though it causes harm to themselves or others. Moderate to severe opioid use disorder is sometimes called addiction. The more signs of this disorder you have, the more severe it may be.

Your risk for opioid use disorder is higher if you have a history of substance use disorder. Other things that increase the risk include being a teenager, being an older adult, having a history of mental illness, and taking high doses of opioid medicine.

Opioids are strong medicines. They can help you manage pain when you take them the right way. But if you misuse them, they can cause serious harm and even death. For these reasons, it is important to take them exactly as your doctor prescribes.

Your body gets used to opioids, which may lead to tolerance and physical dependence. These are not the same as addiction.

What are the signs that you may have a problem with opioids?

You may have opioid use disorder if two or more of the following are true. The more signs of this disorder you have, the more severe it may be.

Even if you take opioids as part of a supervised care plan, you can still develop opioid use disorder.


Credits for Worried About Using Opioids?

Current as of: February 23, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Robert B. Keller MD - Orthopedics
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine


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