Tuesday, April 23, 2024

How To Help Someone With Pain Pill Addiction

Opioid Tolerance Dependence And Abuse

How to help someone with drug addiction

When people take a prescription Opioid like Hydrocodone or Oxycodone for pain, they may not only feel pain relief but also feel extreme relaxation and even euphoria. Once patients begin to heal and no longer physically require the Opioids, they may crave those pleasurable psychological feelings. If the patient has taken prescription Opioids for months or years, the brain chemistry responsible for emotion and mood regulation becomes altered.

Tolerance builds when an individual has taken a substance for some time and needs a higher dose to feel the desired effects. Dependency occurs when the individual needs a particular substance to feel normal and experiences a physical consequence if they attempt to decrease their use. Dependent individuals often have unusual behaviors or act unlike themselves if they do not have the drug irritability, depression, guilt, secrecy, shame, and fatal and non-fatal overdoses may occur.

Wake Up Find Money Get High Repeat

I always had a fascination with drugs, even before I started using them. The science of pharmacology was always super interesting to me. In high school, experimentation with other substances led me to buy some Vicodin to try. Later, as a college student at the University of St. Thomas, I went from popping painkillers, to snorting OxyContin, morphine and Dilaudid. Eventually, I graduated to injecting heroin multiple times a day. I wish I could isolate a point in time when I knew I was addicted, but addiction is subtler than that. Drugs go from merely being a part of your life to becoming your life.

It was wonderful in the beginning. Opioids have the ability to induce a powerful feeling of well-being not attainable naturally or even with other drugs. Theres reduced anxiety, euphoria, pain relief, and a host of other good feelings, including the nods, where you feel like youre sleeping, but remain conscious. It was always easy to get pills and heroin. In 2009, Purdue Pharmaceuticals introduced a new form of OxyContin, which was supposed to have abuse-deterrent properties. This move cut the street price of the drug in half, making it easier to get. And it was still easy to abuse. At the same time, the Twin Cities started to see more high-quality, low-priced heroin on the market.

Take Care Of Yourself

Although you may see this as selfish, its incredibly important that youre able to be there for others and make the best decisions possible. Make sure your own needs are met by getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well. Dont be afraid to go to therapy to get help if you find yourself struggling due to your loved ones drug addiction.

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Additional Treatments For Stopping Pain Pills And Controlling Dependence

Detox and medications are only part of the answer for stopping pain pills and staying off them. They can be great tools to help process these drugs out of the body and reach a safe physical balance however, the emotional aspects of drug dependence and addiction need to be handled too.

Relapse is common and can be particularly dangerous after detox and a period of abstinence. For this reason, counseling and therapies are essential in helping to prevent and minimize relapse. Behavioral therapies help individuals learn how to control cravings, recognize and manage potential triggers for relapse, and form healthy coping mechanisms for handling stress. Therapy and counseling sessions typically include both individual and group formats.

A residential addiction treatment program is often recommended in cases of severe or long-term painkiller abuse. These programs can promote overall healing and wellness by attending to both physical and emotional needs. For example, therapy and counseling improve self-reliance and emotional balance while physical health is improved with nutritious and balanced meals, regular physical activity, and structured sleep schedules. Malnutrition is often a side effect of chronic drug use, and healthy sleep, exercise, and eating habits can promote healing. The brain will need time to restore its balance without drugs, and a comprehensive addiction treatment program can provide the time and space for this to take place.

Myth: Because Most People Don’t Get Addicted To Painkillers I Can Use Them As I Please

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Reality: You need to use prescription painkillers properly. It’s not something patients should tinker with themselves.

“They definitely have an addiction potential,” says Gharibo. His advice: Use prescription pain medicines as prescribed by your doctor and report your responses — positive and negative — to your doctor.

Gharibo also says that he doesn’t encourage using opioids alone, but as part of a plan that also includes other treatment — including other types of drugs, as well as physical therapy and psychotherapy, when needed.

Gharibo says he tells patients about drugs’ risks and benefits, and if he thinks an opioid is appropriate for the patient, he prescribes it on a trial basis to see how the patient responds.

And although you may find that you need a higher dose, you shouldn’t take matters into your own hands. Overdosing is a risk, so setting your dose isn’t a do-it-yourself task.

“I think the escalation of the dosage is key,” says Seppala. “If people find that they just keep adding to the dose, whether it’s legitimate for pain or not, it’s worth taking a look at what’s going on, especially if they’re not talking with the caregiver as they do that.”

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Educate Yourself About Addiction

You see what you know. Until you have knowledge about addiction and the symptoms of drug abuse, its easy to miss the signs that are right in front of you.

Addiction is complex, and its okay if you dont know everything right away. However, taking the time to understand your loved ones disease and how it affects them is incredibly beneficial to both you and your loved one. It also helps you be more aware of the signs that your loved one needs help.

How Are Medicines Used To Treat Opioid Addiction

Methadone, when administered properly, is included in treatment with counseling and is always provided in a clinic setting. It helps to block the effects of opioids and to reduce cravings.

The medicine buprenorphine also helps opioid cravings without giving the same high as other opioid drugs. Prescribed by many physicians, this is typically a daily dose placed under the tongue and can also be delivered as a once-a-month injection or through thin tubes placed under the skin every six months.

These medicines both activate opioid receptors in the body that suppress cravings, and are effective and similar in safety and side effects and typically used for maintenance treatment. They can be used as a taper agent as well but some patients relapse, and we need to try something different with those patients who relapse several times. Patients who are highly motivated and have good social support have a tendency to do better.

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How Can I Help Someone Who Is Addicted To Pills

Once youve seen the warning signs and pain pill addiction symptoms, you cant ignore pill addiction in a loved one. You may be hurt and confused by their actions and behavior, but you know its essential for you to provide support. The question is: How? Here are five tips to help you help someone you care about.

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Based on a 2012 survey published by the American Pain Society, around 50 million Americans suffered from severe pain or significant chronic pain. Also in 2012, over 250 million prescriptions were dispensed for opioid pain relievers enough for every single adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

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What Not To Say To Your Loved One

  • Avoid approaching the person in public or when he or she is under the influence.
  • Avoid judgment and blame. Those suffering from an addiction often feel shame and guilt associated with substance misuse, and family members should be accepting and open-minded.
  • Avoid being aggressive or confrontational. This behavior could push the person away.

As tempting as it may be to continue making excuses for your loved ones behaviors, CRAFT encourages you to let the person face the consequences of his or her actions. Lying for the person will only cause more harm in the long-run.

What Are The Causes Of Drug Addiction

In order to help someone overcome drug addiction effectively, it is important to understand why a person is addicted in the first place. There may be a couple of motives for taking drugs/alcohol. The established leading causes are usually peer pressure and stress. Below are several other opioid abuse causes:

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  • Mental Illnesses: Among these, the chances of a person becoming a drug addict are increased by depression, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
  • Family Backgrounds and History: If the person has a family member in the bloodline who also happens to be a drug addict, drug addiction is more likely to ensue.
  • Early Use: There is a greater chance of becoming an addict in people who appear to start using drugs at a younger age.
  • Trauma History: People with a traumatic past are more likely to smoke, drink or continue using drugs and become an addict.

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Understanding Your Loved Ones Substance Abuse

People start using drugs for a lot of different reasons. Many turn to substances to cope with the emotional pain of a mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Known as self-medicating, some people may be aware they have a mental health issue but are unable to find healthier ways of coping, while others remain undiagnosed and use drugs to manage specific symptoms.

Other people turn to drugs to change how they feel, to fit in, or to alleviate boredom or dissatisfaction with their lives. Then there are those whose substance abuse develops from a doctors well-intentioned efforts to treat a medical condition. Of all the people prescribed opioids to relieve pain, for example, estimates suggest that more than a quarter will end up misusing the drug.

Whatever your loved ones reason for starting, though, not everyone who uses drugs develops a problem. While the exact causes of addiction arent clear, genetics likely plays a role, along with environmental factors. While one person is able to use substances without detrimental effects, another finds even casual use quickly escalates into compulsion and addictiona very dark hole from which they can feel powerless to emerge.

Youre Not Quite Yourself

How Drug Treatment Can Ease The Pain

Maybe youâre not taking care of yourself like you usually do. Youâre less concerned about your personal hygiene or the way you look.

Or you feel moodier than usual. Do you feel angrier? Have your eating habits changed? Do you feel nervous or jittery?

Changes in sleep are another sign. People who become addicted to drugs like morphine and codeine are known to sleep their days away, often in a locked, dark room, Jay says.

Have you stepped back from your responsibilities? Maybe you haven’t been paying your bills like you used to, neglected household chores, or called in sick to work. If youâre ignoring your children, your responsibilities, or life in general, itâs time to ask for help, Jay says.

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Youve Noticed Missing Money Items Or Medications

If you live with a suspected pain pill addict, you may have noticed that some objects around your house have gone missing. It could be your favorite pair of diamond earrings or a brand-new iPod or TV. It could even be items like clothing or decorations. While it may be hard to believe, the person youre living with could be selling these for money to buy more prescription drugs to support their habit.

Its no surprise, then, that you may have also noticed some of your cash has gone missing. Or maybe a credit card that you simply thought you left at a restaurant and had to cancel. And though your loved one may put on a convincing show of ignorance, this pattern of events may be far too regular to be random.

Watch out for missing medication as well. Though you may not be holding their exact drug of choice, they might still be traded or sold on the streets.

Talk To Someone About Your Worries

It can be useful to open up to someone about this. This might be a family member or a friend you trust. If youre very close to the person, the chances are theyve already spotted some of the signs that youre addicted to painkillers and will want to help you beat it.

Talk to them openly and honestly about your worries and let them know how they can help you moving forwards. They may offer to call your GP on your behalf and go to an appointment with you as moral support, or they can help to distract you when youre having cravings. Just having someone on your side can help massively in the early stages of recovery. Remember, its often the case that a problem shared is a problem halved.

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They Exhibit Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Intoxication

The first step to identifying an abuse problem is knowing how to tell if someone is high on pills. Since prescription medications encompass a wide variety of different drugs, each with their own effects, weve categorized the physical warning signs by the three most commonly abused prescription meds: opioids, stimulants, and CNS depressants.


  • Slurred speech
  • Poor memory

It may be difficult to distinguish between the effects of opioid painkillers and sedatives due to the similarity of their symptoms. One of the main differentiators to look out for is the euphoria that typically comes with taking opioids. An abuser of this class of drug will display extended lethargy and drowsiness but will also show signs of an elated mood as well. Whats more, their coordination when walking is likely going to be worse on sedatives than on opioids.

Myth: All That Matters Is Easing My Pain

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Reality: Pain relief is key, but it’s not the only goal.

“We’re focusing on functional restoration when we prescribe analgesics or any intervention to control the patient’s pain,” says Gharibo.

He explains that functional restoration means “being autonomous, being able to attend to their activities of daily living, as well as forming friendships and an appropriate social environment.”

In other words, pain relief isn’t enough.

“If there is pain reduction without improved function, that may not be sufficient to continue opioid pharmacotherapy,” says Gharibo. “If we’re faced with a situation where we continue to increase the doses and we’re not getting any functional improvement, we’re not just going to go up and up on the dose. We’re going to change the plan.”

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Chronic Pain And Health Conditions

The causes of both chronic pain and addiction can be complex and very difficult to treat. Chronic pain often calls for several medications, some with side effects that can be disruptive to daily activities. For example, conditions like fibromyalgia that cause chronic fatigue, tenderness, and bone pain not only cause chronic pain but can also be emotionally frustrating to deal with. Additionally, chronic pain can be caused by health conditions like:

  • Endometriosis or uterine fibroids

Chronic pain may also have lifestyle causes like:

  • Long-term poor posture or bending
  • Sleeping on a poor mattress
  • Years of improper lifting or carrying heavy objects
  • Wearing high heels

Other traits of chronic pain include an inability to move around, muscle tension, changes in appetite, and emotional frustrations due to ongoing pain. Lastly, women, tobacco smokers, obese people, and individuals who have had an injury are most at risk of battling chronic pain.

How To Have The Conversation About Opioid Addiction With Your Parent

If you need to broach the subject about addiction with your mother or father, its best to present it as a thought or from a place of concern. Be careful not to use phrases that state or imply judgement or accusation. It may take a mention once a month just to create an openness to the conversation. Maybe something like, Hey dad, I think youre going through your pain meds faster than usual. Everything alright? Has the pain gotten worse? With this approach, you take the focus off the medication and put it on the pain, which is really the crux of the problem.

  • Talk to the prescribing physician
  • Talk to the family doctor
  • Talk to a specialist who can assess addiction
  • Find a supportive, yet effective treatment plan

It might be tempting to grab the prescription bottle and call the pharmacist or doctor and scream at the top of your lungs. Take a step back. There are HIPAA laws that protect a patients right to privacy about their health care. Suggest your concern with your parent and offer to go with them to their next appointment and talk to their doctor about seeking alternative treatments to manage pain. With the new 5-day opioid law Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona just presented, medical practitioners will be more discretionary in administering pain prescriptions than ever before.

If you need to talk, were here to listen.

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You Feel Angry If Someone Talks To You About It

Have your friends or family tried to talk to you about how youâre using your medication? If you feel defensive or irritated when they approach you, you may be getting in too deep, Schrank says.

In fact, studies show the degree of that anger is not just a sign that you may need treatment, but it can actually be a predictor as to how effective treatment would be.

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