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Painkiller AddictionWhat is painkiller addiction? The most commonly used non-narcotic painkillers are aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, which are available in both prescription and non-prescription form.  Non-narcotic painkillers are by far the most commonly used of all medications.

Narcotic painkillers include opiates and opioids, which are natural or artificial forms of opiumCodeine, Darvon, Demerol, OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Dilaudid, and morphine are common examples.  These drugs are usually used on a short-term basis to control severe pain.

Opioids Have a High Potential for Painkiller Addiction

Opioids are derived from the seeds of the opium poppy. Synthetically enhanced to produce powerful pain relief, these drugs are some of the most prescribed and most abused drugs available today.

Recent government reports show that nearly 4.4 million Americans abuse prescription painkillers and that opioid painkiller are the fastest growing drug of abuse among teenagers.  This new survey underscores the urgency of educating the public that prescription painkillers such as oxycodone or morphine are equivalent to heroin. Prescription drug addiction is obviously a growing problem.  According to the Office of National Drug Policy, emergency room visits resulting from the abuse of painkillers alone has gone up 163% since 1995.

According to rough estimates, between 3%-16% of people who suffer from chronic pain are treated with long-term opioid narcotics and develop an addiction.  Individuals may have a greater risk for developing an addiction to a prescription painkiller if they have an abuse history of any substance or if they have recently undergone any emotional problems.  Many drug rehab programs can assist with a dual diagnosis of issues and substance addiction.

What Leads to Painkiller Addiction?

Usually, the individual will start taking their medication as prescribed and may develop a tolerance for the drug, requiring them to take more and more in order to achieve the desired effect.  Over time, this repeated medication abuse would lead to an addiction.  A risk of painkiller addiction may also be higher for those individuals who respond positively to the drug—in other words, they have very little problems with side effects from the drug.  People who become addicted to prescription painkillers clearly experience a high while most other people find that the drug makes them feel sick due to the side effects associated with the drug.  Frequent side effects may include dizziness, sedation, and confusion.

For the relatively small number of people who do develop an addiction to a prescription painkiller, the effects can be devastating.  People who take prescription painkillers do not intend to abuse the drug, it just gradually happens over time.  One pill leads to two and then three and the next thing you know, you may be popping 4 or more pills per day just to deal with the pain.  You may find yourself taking your medication when you are simply having a bad day or to cope with a bad mood.  Before you know it, you can’t function without it and you are caught in the addiction cycle.

The worst thing about painkiller addiction is that most individuals do not even realize that they have a problem.  Addiction is a disease of denial.  Often, because these individuals receive a prescription for the drug, they don’t even realize that anything is wrong because their doctor prescribed the medication.  These individuals do not understand that this addiction can be just as devastating had they been using and become addicted to heroin.  For others, prescription painkiller drug addiction can also cause a great sense of shame that prevents them from getting the help that they need. There is addiction counseling for groups and individuals in drug rehabilitation treatment programs, they assist with the mental issues and guilt of the addicted individual.

Contact Us Immediately Before It’s Too Late

If you or someone you love has an addiction to prescription painkillers, there is help available.  Consult with your family physician or a drug rehabilitation professional.  Painkiller addiction is a serious problem and should not be taken lightly. Contact Stop Your Addiction immediately if you need more information on addiction and rehabilitation programs.

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