Reasons Why People Abuse Painkillers
People use painkillers for an obvious reason: to ease or relieve pain. Unfortunately, there can be several different reasons why people abuse painkillers. Some people abuse painkillers because their tolerance for these drugs increases, requiring them to use more of the substance for the same level of pain relief. Other people abuse painkillers because they think theyre less harmful and addictive than street drugs. Additional reasons can include a genetic predisposition to addiction, easy accessibility, and the desire to escape psychological and emotional pain.
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.
How Should You Store And Dispose Of Opioids To Protect Family Members
If you are taking opioids, you are not the only one in your household who is in danger of misuse, addiction, and overdose. Other members of your household, including children, are also vulnerable. Hereâs how to protect them:
- Always store opioids in a safe and secure place. Do not leave prescription bottles in the medicine cabinet, and keep the medication away from others, particularly young children. Children sometimes confuse medications with candy and end up swallowing them, which can lead to overdose. Other family members and visitors could also find prescription medications in the house and use them inappropriately.
- Never share your prescriptions. More than half of people who misuse prescribed opioids get them from a friend or relative, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Donât throw unused opioids in the trash. Improper disposal of prescription medicines can lead to other people finding and taking them.
If you have leftover or expired prescription medications, follow these drug disposal tips:
Physician anesthesiologists are the most highly skilled medical experts in anesthesia care, pain management, and critical care medicine, with the education and training that can mean the difference between life and death.
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Opioids: Painkillers That Promote Addiction
Opioids are prescription medications that work on the nervous system. They are prescribed for serious and chronic pain. More than just providing pain relief, this type of drug can bring about pleasurable feelings as well.
The commonly-prescribed opioids in the market include:
Another type of illegal drug, heroin, is an addicting opioid substance as well. While most users take these orally, some aim to intensify their experiences by snorting or injecting the opioid.
What Are The Signs Of Painkiller Addiction
If you know and understand the warning signs of drug addiction, you can stay in control of the situation or know when you need to seek help.Below are some of the more common symptoms of painkiller abuse:
- Your thoughts are occupied by when to take your next dose
- Frequent mood swings
- Attempting to obtain additional prescriptions from doctors
- Depression, anxiety or worsening moods
- Building tolerance
Even if you think you have control over your use of prescription painkillers, if you have any remote cause for concern it should not be ignored. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, its better to seek help now before things get worse.
What Causes Opioid Addiction
Opioid drugs alter your brain by creating artificial endorphins. Besides blocking pain, these endorphins make you feel good. Too much opioid use can cause your brain to rely on these artificial endorphins. Once your brain does this, it can even stop producing its own endorphins. The longer you use opioids, the more likely this is to happen. You also will need more opioids over time because of drug tolerance.
Drug tolerance is when your body, over time, gets used to the effects of a drug. As this happens, you may need to take a higher dose of the drug to get the same effect. When you take opioids over time, you need a higher dose to get the same pain relief.
If you stop using an opioid for a period of time, your tolerance will begin to fade. If you need to begin taking it again, you most likely will not need your former higher dose. That can be too much for the body to take. If you stop taking a medication, and then resume, talk to your doctor about dosage.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Painkiller Addiction
The symptoms of painkiller addiction depend on a number of factors including the type of painkiller drug you have been consuming, the amount and frequency of your painkiller use, as well as varying from person to person. However, the following behavioural/social, psychological and physical symptoms may indicate that a harmful painkiller addiction is present.
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How Does One Become Addicted
Painkillers are not intended to be a negative substance to be abused. They are produced to help a person through a trying period of physical pain. And some painkillers, such as SSRIs, are non-habit-forming. More addictive painkillers like opioids are likely to become a problem for those individuals who already have a genetic predisposition to addiction.
Because painkillers are so simple to use and have effective results, theyve become the number one go-to solution for pain management. As such, some people are tempted to take more as physical suffering continues. But there are several other reasons people become dependent.
Though alternatives do exist, such as physical therapy and other pain management services, society puts a focus on pain meds before alternatives. We may also find it much harder to seek out these other options.
Painkillers can cause an emotional numbness alongside the numbing of physical pain. It can be an attractive side effect to those who are under severe emotional distress, but these drugs are made to ease physical pain, and should not be taken for the purposes of dealing with emotional problems where a counselor or therapist might help.
Unfortunately, building a tolerance to pain meds can happen at a quick rate. Users of these drugs may find their pain getting worse and think they need a higher dosage for relief.
Facts And Myths About Opioid Pain Medications
Determining what is true or not true about opioid pain medications can be tough. You may hear or read information that might be confusing when trying to decide the best way to treat your chronic pain.
1. Myth: The more you take the better they work.Fact: More does not equal better. Over time, people build up a tolerance to pain medicine. Taking too much pain medicine can cause tolerance to happen quicker and your chronic pain may actually get worse.
2. Myth: If you take opioid pain medications for a valid reason, you can’t get addicted. Fact: Opioid pain medications have a highly addictive nature. Anyone can be at risk of developing an addiction to these medications, especially if they are taken for a long period of time. To avoid increasing the risk of becoming addicted to these types of medications, it is important to use them only as prescribed.
3. Myth: Everyone who takes opioids will get addicted.Fact: It depends largely on your own personal risk of addiction. Thats why your doctor may ask questions about your risk factors: a family history of addiction, a personal history of alcohol and drug abuse, or certain psychiatric disorders.
What Should You Do If You Or Someone You Know Is Addicted
If you or a loved one is ready to seek help for an addiction, the first step is to find a physician or other health professional who can help. Ask your physician for a referral to a medical professional in addiction medicine. Or search the American Society of Addiction Medicineâs website for addiction specialists in your area. The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry also has a Patient Referral Program.
Another resource is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration toll-free help line to find drug treatment near you: 1-800-662-HELP . Or you can visit SAHMSAâs Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. Thereâs also a State Agencies webpage that helps you find state agencies that might have special programs for you or a loved one.
If you or a loved one is ready to seek assistance for an addiction, the first step is to find a physician or other health professional who can help.
If you are supporting a friend or loved one in overcoming addiction, the National Institute on Drug Abuse offers the following advice: Assure your friend or loved one that addiction can be managed successfully, but acknowledge that it may take several attempts at treatment to find the best approach. If your friend or loved one refuses to seek help, a confrontational âinterventionâ is not recommended. These encounters can escalate into violence or backfire in other ways. Try to convince the person to consult with a physician.
The Dangers Of Painkiller Addiction
When taken correctly, painkillers like Ibuprofen have few risks. They are designed to help treat your pain, but Ibuprofen addiction can lead to some serious health concerns.
The problem is when you start taking more than you need. This can lead to liver and kidney damage, along with damage to your stomach. The more painkillers you take, the more tolerant your body becomes. As such, youre forced to take even higher doses to see the desired effects. In turn, this leads to more severe issues like problems breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and the risk of overdose.
Thats right, an overdose is a very real risk with painkiller addiction, and it can ultimately lead to death.
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Opiate Effects And Abuse
Opiates produce euphoric and tranquil effects when taken in amounts that are larger than prescribed. The pleasant, care-free feelings a person experiences when taking these drugs are often what leads to destructive patterns of abuse.
Opiate addiction is often characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior. For example, in an attempt to obtain more of the drug, a person may visit multiple doctors in order to get new prescriptions, otherwise known as doctor shopping.
The pathological urges to use these drugs can also drive people to borrow, buy, or steal the drugs from friends and family. As an act of desperation, some individuals may resort to seeking out Heroin, an illegal Opioid that is commonly purchased on the streets. Despite the well-known dangers of Heroin, it is often easier and cheaper to obtain than Opioid pills.
In one survey, 94% of respondents said they chose to use Heroin over prescription Painkillers because it was cheaper and easier to get.
How We Treat Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs may seem safe, but all drugs come with risks, especially painkillers. Luckily, at Genesis Recovery, we offer a prescription drug treatment program and an opioid addiction treatment program. Our recovery programs include detox, therapy, clinical support, a 12-step program, and a faith-based community.
You dont have to use painkillers to deal with stress or escape from pain. We can help you overcome addiction and restore your life from the inside out. Contact us today if you or a loved one have been misusing painkillers and are interested in finding a better way to cope.
Do you or a loved one need help?
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How Opioid Addiction Occurs
Opioid addiction generally occurs in three steps:
Helping Loved Ones With Prescription Drug Addictions
Prescription drug addiction can negatively affect your health. It can also put you at risk of a fatal overdose. Drug addiction can also put a strain on your finances and relationships.
Do you suspect that someone you love is misusing prescription medications? Its important for them to get professional help. Their doctor or mental health specialist might recommend counseling. They might also refer your loved one to an intensive rehabilitation program. In some cases, they might prescribe medications to help curb drug cravings or relieve symptoms of withdrawal.
If you suspect that someone you love has a prescription drug addiction, there are ways that you can help.
For more information on drug addiction, including potential treatment options, visit these websites:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Opioid Misuse
Unfortunately, it is part of the nature of painkillers that they become less effective over time. This is partly because your body will adjust to the medication and develop a tolerance, which means your body will require higher doses of the drug to get the same effect.
There are certain signs that your therapeutic use of opioids has crossed into the territory of addiction.
Signs to be aware of include:
- Exhibiting compulsive behaviors to get the drug and continue to use it
- Taking the medication to get high or relieve anxiety rather than to relieve pain
- Needing to take a higher dose of medication to feel the same effects that you used to experience at lower dosages
- Using pain medication in amounts or at times that are not consistent with your doctor’s prescriptionespecially if you are misleading your doctor or pharmacist to do so
If you recognize these behaviors or are concerned about your use of pain medication, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.
Opioid Addiction Discussion Guide
Pharmacological Interventions And Treatment Implications
In summary, the various biological models of drug addiction are complementary and broadly applicable to chemical addictions. Long-term pharmacotherapies for opioid dependence and addiction counteract or reverse the abnormalities underlying those conditions, thereby enhancing programs of psychological rehabilitation. Short-term treatments for relieving withdrawal symptoms and increasing abstinence are beyond the scope of this article instead, we refer readers elsewhere for detailed neurobiological explanations of the various nonopioid-based abstinence initiation approaches such as clonidine and clonidine-naltrex-one for rapid detoxification .
The medications most commonly used to treat opioid abuse attach to the brain cells mu opioid receptors, like the addictive opioids themselves. Methadone and LAAM stimulate the cells much as the illicit opioids do, but they have different effects because of their different durations of action. Naltrexone and buprenorphine stimulate the cells in ways quite distinct from the addictive opioids. Each medication can play a role in comprehensive treatment for opioid addiction.
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What Is The Difference Between Drug Tolerance Dependence And Addiction
Drug tolerance and dependence are a normal part of taking any opioid drug for a long time. You can be tolerant to, or dependent on, a drug and not yet be addicted to it.
Addiction, however, is not normal. It is a disease. You are addicted to a drug when it seems that neither your body nor your mind can function without the drug. Addiction causes you to obsessively seek out the drug, even when the drug use causes behavior, health, or relationship problems.
How Heroin Addiction Starts
Sadly, heroin abuse and overdose deaths have reached all-time highs in the last decade. This increase in heroin abuse is linked to the opioid epidemic associated with prescription pain relievers. People who struggle with addiction rarely begin with heroin. Circumstances may have led to their addiction to prescription opioid pain relievers. Being addicted to prescription pain medication, be it Vicodin or OxyContin, is not a convenient addiction, as it requires a physicians prescription and usually costs a lot of money to obtain. When it becomes impossible to get a prescription for pain relievers, there is a quick and significant transition from pain pills to heroin use. Regardless of how the addiction started, this desperation leads individuals to seek relief. When their drug of choice is no longer accessible and they being to withdraw, they may turn to heroin. Heroin is a cheaper option that is easier to obtain and produces similar effects on the users brain and body.
NIDA explains that most people who use heroin report that they first misused prescription opioids, but it is a small percentage of people who switch to heroin. The number of people misusing prescription drugs is so high, that even a small percentage translates to hundreds of thousands of heroin users. Other statistics reveal that heroin users began drug use with heroin. In fact, some research has informed that about one-third of heroin users in treatment simply started with heroin.
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Origins Of Drug Liking
Many factors, both individual and environmental, influence whether a particular person who experiments with opioid drugs will continue taking them long enough to become dependent or addicted. For individuals who do continue, the opioids ability to provide intense feelings of pleasure is a critical reason.
When heroin, oxycodone, or any other opiate travels through the bloodstream to the brain, the chemicals attach to specialized proteins, called mu opioid receptors, on the surfaces of opiate-sensitive neurons . The linkage of these chemicals with the receptors triggers the same biochemical brain processes that reward people with feelings of pleasure when they engage in activities that promote basic life functions, such as eating and sex. Opioids are prescribed therapeutically to relieve pain, but when opioids activate these reward processes in the absence of significant pain, they can motivate repeated use of the drug simply for pleasure.
The Mesolimbic Reward System
When drugs stimulate mu opioid receptors in the brain, cells in the ventral tegmental area produce dopamine and release it into the nucleus accumbens , giving rise to feelings of pleasure. Feedback from the prefrontal cortex to the VTA helps us overcome drives to obtain pleasure through actions that may be unsafe or unwise, but this feedback appears to be compromised in individuals who become addicted to drugs. The locus ceruleus is an area of the brain that plays an important role in drug dependence.