What is painkiller abuse and addiction?
Addiction to prescription painkillers is spreading at an astonishing rate in the United States and all over the world. Usually, one gets addicted to prescription painkillers after he continues taking prescribed medicine and unintentionally becomes dependent on it. The statistics of the patients suffering from the disorder are astonishing and have been reported as impacting 40 million people. Pain killers tend to alter one’s brain chemistry t and according to one report, around 10% of people who are recommended narcotic opioid analgesics to cure their pain will become addicted somehow. And as per different estimates, 3% of the overall American population are dependent on painkillers and that number is growing each year. After people become addicted to painkillers, they sometimes lose their prescriptions. When this happens, they often turn to harder street drugs like heroine in an effort to get the same effects.
What are the reasons?
Continued and prolonged usage of painkillers cause the human body to build a physical dependency on the medication. Physical dependence means that even if the patient wants to get away from the use of painkillers, it gets extremely hard due to symptoms of withdrawal. Main reasons for the arousal of physical dependency include:
- Painful medications dominate the nerve cells in the brain which is a primary cause of dependency which is the reason for body changes which could be extremely painful.
- Escalation in quantity of receptors for the drug diminished normal body functions.
- When the body is receiving painkillers from outside sources, the human body ceases to produce natural painkillers inside which are called endorphins.
- Taking increased doses instead of prescribed quantity.
- Acquiring the medications from any other source than an authorized one, for instance, buying over the internet or stealing drugs.
What are the signs & symptoms?
Like other forms of drug abuse, painkiller addiction has several signs and symptoms, however, it might be a difficult task to determine the indications. The severity and seriousness of symptoms depend upon the duration of addiction. Medical experts indicate the following symptoms in painkiller addicts:
- Reduction in weight: An opioid user might lose weight due to impaired metabolic system.
- Sleeping or dizziness in the daytime: The patient might suffer from an excess of dizziness and lethargy.
- Lack of cleanliness: The patient tends to be careless about his personal hygiene..
- Recurring flu & fever: A painkiller addicted is usually more prone to flu and fever than a regular person.
- Damaged personal relationships & more consumption of money is another widely observed symptom
Withdrawal & Treatment
Studies indicate that around 8% of patients who are recommended narcotic or opioid by medical experts tend to develop an addiction. And if they continue taking pain medication, they reach a level where fear of harsh withdrawal symptoms prevents them from breaking the addiction. One of the top symptoms is increased sensitivity to pain, for instance, one who tries to escape from the addiction of pain medication may become more delicate and feel even a small pain as a significant injury. Other withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, pain in lower part of the belly, cramps, tears in eyes, vomiting, sweating, restlessness, and tremors, etc..
When seeking recovery from an opiate addiction, it is important to be treated by medical and psychological professionals. Going through the withdrawal process at a clinical detox facility is highly recommended. Because of the insidious nature of painkillers and other opioids, it is necessary that the addict undergo a long term treatment program, i.e inpatient and outpatient, in an effort to successfully re-integrate back into society.