Opioid Addiction | Symptoms


What are the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction?

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction of opioids is often the first step toward treatment. Signs and symptoms can be physical, behavioral, and psychological. A primary sign of addiction is the inability to limit use of a substance beyond what is clinically recommended.

Other signs and symptoms of opioid abuse include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Shallow or slow breathing rate
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Physical agitation
  • Poor decision making
  • Abandoning responsibilities
  • Slurred speech
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • Mood swings
  • Euphoria (feeling high)
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lowered motivation
  • Anxiety attacks

What are the symptoms of opioid overdose?

An overdose of opioids requires immediate emergency medical treatment. If you suspect someone has overdosed on opioids, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Unresponsive
  • Slow, erratic breathing, or no breathing at all
  • Slow, erratic pulse, or no pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Constricted (small) pupils


See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 10/15
Created: 07/06

Link to information about the Medicine Abuse Project