Opioids and Opioid Use Disorders

Opioids are a class of drugs that can lead to both dependence and addiction. Understanding the difference and the signs of both can be an important part of getting help.

Understanding Opioids and Opioid Use Disorders

Estimated watch time: 3 mins


Opioids are powerful substances. There are both prescription and non-prescription opioids, and all types of opioids can potentially lead to dependence and addiction. Dependence can occur with or without an addiction. There are criteria used to diagnose an addiction to opioids, called and opioid use disorder.

For anyone concerned if they’re dependent or addicted, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional.

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Opioids and opioid use disorders

Today, we’re going to talk about opioids and opioid use disorders. 

Are you struggling with opioid use disorder?

If you answer yes to two or more of these questions that I will ask. Perhaps it is appropriate for you to talk to a medical or mental health professional.

  • Are you using a larger dose over a larger period of time?
  • Do you want to cut back on your opioid use, but you can’t?
  • Are you spending a lot of your time thinking about, finding, using, and recovering from opioids?
  • Do you have really strong cravings to use?
  • Is your opioid use having negative effects on your work, school and home life?
  • Do you continue to use opioids after social and interpersonal issues arise?
  • Have you been reducing or altogether stopping your typical social, job, or recreational activities?
  • Are you putting yourself in physically dangerous situations?
  • Is your opioid use causing physical or psychological problems?
  • Have you developed a tolerance for opioids?  The occurrence of needing more and more of a substance to achieve the same results.
  • Or do you experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using opioids, which then leads you to using more opioids to avoid those withdrawal symptoms.

There are a lot of different names that opioids can appear as.  There are their prescription names that you may have heard of, such as Percocet or Vicodin or fentanyl. There are also non-prescription names such as heroin, H, oxy, or Percs.

These words all relate to opioid use disorders.  Whether it comes through a prescription or nonprescription methods.

Now, you may be wondering, do I have an addiction or a physical dependence on opioids.  A dependence, your body adapts to the drug and may need more to achieve the desired effect. And if you stop using it, there are physical and mental symptoms.

Physical dependence doesn’t always mean you’re struggling with addiction. But there is a close relationship and it can be difficult to tell the difference. If you are wondering if you have a physical dependence or an addiction because of your opioid use, it is an important conversation to have with your medical or mental health professionals.

In the next lesson we will review the physical effects of opioid use.

Thank you for choosing The Recovery Village.  If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse and would like to find out more about the programs we offer, please reach out to us directly at 855-387-3291.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.