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Opioid Dependence is the diagnosis used in the DSM-IV to describe the most severe addiction to Opioids.  Included in the class of opioids are morphine, heroin, opium, methadone and other narcotic pain pills such as oxycontin, oxycodone, percocet, vicodin and lortab.  It is defined by having at least three of the following symptoms in a one-year period:

  1. Tolerance:  The need to use increasing amounts of Opioids in order to get the same level of intoxication, or using the regular amount of Opioids doesn’t cause as strong an effect.
  2. Withdrawal: A specific set of symptoms that individuals experience when they stop taking Opioids.  Symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, feelings of depression or severe bone pain.
  3. Taking larger amounts of Opioids and for longer periods than intended.
  4. Persistent desire or repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit using Opioids.
  5. Spending excessive amounts of time trying to get Opioids, being high on Opioids or recovering from Opioid use.
  6. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced because of Opioid use.
  7. The individual continues to use Opioid despite knowledge of negative consequences (i.e. physical illness, relationship problems, job difficulty etc.)

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