What Exactly are Painkillers?
Painkillers can be described as powerful drugs that hamper with the nervous system’s communication of the nerve signals that we discern as pain. Majority of painkillers also trigger parts of the brain associated with pleasure. This, in addition, blocks pain and create hallucinations or produce a “high” feeling.
Opioids, which are opium-like compounds, are regarded as the most powerful prescription painkillers. Just as drugs extracted from opium poppy such as heroin, opioids are manufactured to react to the nervous system in a similar manner. Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, and morphine remain the most commonly abused opioid painkillers.
How America Became the Leading Prescriber of Opioid Painkillers
When it comes to usage of opioids, America has the dubious honor of taking the lead globally. In a recent research, for every one million citizens in America, almost 50,000 doses of opioids are used every day. Shockingly, that’s four times the rate in Britain.
So how did the US take the lead as world’s top prescriber of opioid painkillers?
The first reason is the pharmaceutical companies that were overly ambitious in making as much money as possible. They mainly marketed their drugs as effective and safe in treating pain, contrary to the research conducted for opioids that showed that the risks surpass the benefits in most cases particularly for chronic pain. A number of doctors and patients were persuaded by this campaign.
Doctors, on the other hand, faced a lot of pressure from medical associations, advocacy groups, and government agencies to come with a solution for treating pain, on the other hand, they faced equal pressure to treat patients effectively and quickly. Opioids seemed like the best answer to these issues. Doctors seemed overwhelmed by the rising complex pain problems faced by their patients and an easy response was to provide patients with some pills to ease the pain.
In several instances, doctors seemed to prescribe far too much and with the rising cases of acute pain, they often gave weeks or months of long prescriptions. When it comes to patients, there were serious medical issues that needed to be solved with as much as 100 million cases of chronic pain reported. Opioids, however, may still be regarded as the best answer when it comes to chronic pain. If prescribed rightfully and carefully they pose minimal risks to patients who use them
What are the Signs of Painkiller Addiction?
Opioid addiction or addiction to painkillers is just like any other kind of addiction a person may suffer. Some people find themselves addicted because they began consuming a bit too much of the recommended medication and find it a challenge to stop. Others, however, intentionally consume these painkillers as a way of getting high and end up being dependant on them. Having easy access to these painkillers is one of the ways addiction happens without one’s knowledge. In some cases, some have used painkillers as a means of dealing with stress or emotional pain when they get high. If you happen to notice any of the signs below, then you are most likely addicted to painkillers and need to cope with your addiction.
1. You constantly think about your medication.
One of the initial signs of addiction is constantly thinking of two things: when is your next dose and will your supply sustain you? You may constantly find yourself watching at the clock to take your next dose, severally anticipating for your dose over a period of time. However, dependency and addiction are two different things. One can be physically dependant on a drug but still not be addicted to the same. In simpler terms, when you’re physically dependent on a drug, your body has created a tolerance to it, and you have the need to higher doses of the pills to achieve the same effect.
But when addicted to a drug, it becomes more physical and emotional. This kind of addiction comes with undisciplined behaviors.
2. You take different amounts than your stated prescription.
You may find yourself taking more than what’s prescribed. Some tend to think that the doctor probably doesn’t understand their level of pain and may take several times during the day going against the doctor’s prescription. You often find yourself controlling how you should take your dosage.
3. You’re “doctor shopping.”
Another warning sign is shopping for different doctors. Hoping from one doctor to another is a major sign your addiction is taking a different turn. Your objective may be to boost your supply of painkillers to have as much as you need.
You may also find yourself lying to a different doctor about losing your prescription in order to obtain more.
Physical signs may include;
- Pupil dilation
- Decreased blood pressure
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Heavy perspiration
- Impaired coordination
The Effects of Opioid Painkillers on Your Body
Short-term Effects of Painkillers
When used to relieve pain, opioids are effective but if not taken as prescribed, they become addictive.
This drug slows down the chemical process which leads to slurred speech and a lack of focus and also inability to concentrate. You are likely to experience shallow breathing. If taken in large amounts at once, one can go in and out of consciousness.
Opioids can alter with the body temperatures making your temperature fluctuate drastically which may, in turn, cause chills. One can also experience mood swings.
Long-term Effects of Painkillers
Experts are still researching on the long-term effect associated with opioid abuse on the brain. They have established that the drugs slow breathing, affecting the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. this condition is called hypoxia. Hypoxia is said to have short- and long-term neurological and psychological effects such as falling to a coma and permanent brain damage.
Quit Abusing Painkillers & Learn How to Deal with Chronic Pain at Ritz Point Recovery
Once you accept that you have an addiction, it is important to seek immediate attention for your problem. It’s advisable to seek help at a residential inpatient program like the one at Ritz Point Recovery in Laguna Hills, CA. Our program helps in tackling an addiction to painkillers through our traditional and modern addiction treatment program. Our 6-bed residential treatment center in Orange County can assist you in not only quitting painkillers for good, but our expert team can also teach you how to deal with chronic pain without the use of narcotic painkillers. We believe that it is possible to recover from substance abuse, although some type of action is necessary.
Contact our admissions team today to speak to someone who’s been in your shoes and can help answer any questions you may have. Don’t wait to take action. Tomorrow may not come. Almost 200 people die every single day in the U.S. from an accidental drug overdose. Don’t be next. Call us today at 1-866-936-4706.