Is it Opioid Use Disorder?

Only a doctor can diagnose Opioid Use Disorder. If you are concerned that you or someone you care about may have this condition, consider the following behaviours that describe dependence.
  • Craving
  • Loss of control over the amount or frequency of use
  • Compulsion to use
  • Use despite consequences
You may find it helpful to read through the following scenarios to get a better understanding of what it may be like for someone who lives with this condition.
I am reading this for…
Carmen is an elementary school teacher who was taking a prescription opioid for her back pain for three months. Her doctor took her off the opioid three weeks ago, but she has been craving it when she wakes up in the morning.
Cravings can be a sign of Opioid Use Disorder. Do you ever experience cravings for opioids?
  
Carmen found a new doctor and has a prescription for an opioid once again. She has been taking more of the opioid than was prescribed. She thinks the amount she is taking is fine, but her husband is concerned that Carmen has lost control of her opioid use.
Loss of control over the amount or frequency of use is another sign of Opioid Use Disorder. Have you lost control over how much or how often you take opioids?
  
Lately, Carmen has been leaving the classroom so she can take her opioid. She knows she should wait, but the compulsion to use is too strong to ignore.
Compulsion to use is also a sign of Opioid Use Disorder. Do you ever feel like you can’t wait to take your opioid?
  
Carmen’s husband has been getting annoyed at the amount of money Carmen has been spending on opioids. They were late with their mortgage payment this month because the funds were not available. Carmen knew this would happen, but she purchased the opioids anyway.
Using opioids despite the consequences is a fourth way to describe Opioid Use Disorder. Have you continued to use opioids despite harmful consequences?
  
Carmen’s case is fictional but it reflects some of the experiences that people living with Opioid Use Disorder might face. Everyone’s situation is different.

Learn how to get the conversation started with your doctor.



Case studies have been adapted from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.1

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