Understanding Painkiller Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Prescription drugs addiction transcends the boundaries of class, race, age and family background. It’s an addiction of opportunity that often starts with a perfectly legal, safe treatment for a painful injury or after an invasive surgery. That means it’s a snake in the grass for friends and family members who, at first, have no reason to challenge an addict’s continued use of painkillers.
Regularly prescribed narcotics with highly addictive properties include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin), a codeine-derived opioid
- Oxycodone, an analgesic
- Hydromorphone, similar in effect to morphine
These medications are effective because they target specific areas of the brain so effectively to reduce or eliminate pain. That also makes them very dangerous on a long-term basis.
From Taking as Needed to Losing Control
An emergency room morphine drip can trigger a dependency that leads to a long-term addiction, while a stressful week of class and a friend with a broken leg can lead to a college student’s downward spiral. Painkillers are commonly prescribed for a huge range of symptoms and pain levels, but most of them are highly addictive, so it’s important to stick within the recommended doses and wean oneself as early as possible.
Doctors treat a whole host of short- and long-term conditions by prescribing strong painkillers, but they can’t always follow up with their patients, especially those who aren’t honest about their previous struggles with addiction. While the majority of the medical community is here to help you, there are also doctors and “pill mills” who will prescribe painkillers that their patients don’t actually need.
If your loved one is visiting more than one doctor, paying cash for additional painkillers or otherwise veering off the originally prescribed course, it’s time to take stock of their situation.
Surefire Signs of Prescription Addiction
So where do you draw the line between use and abuse? If you suspect a loved one of growing dependent on prescription pills — or if they have a chronic condition that includes daily use of a particularly addictive drug — you should always be on the lookout for a few key warning signs that their use has spiraled out of control.
- Increasing dosages: The human body builds tolerance to certain medications over time, lessening their effect and requiring stronger doses to achieve the same high.
- Personality changes:There’s no mistaking the extreme differences between an addict’s behavior when they’re high and when they’re “themselves”; anti-social behavior includes lack of interest in hobbies, failure to commit to
- Changes in energy levels:If they’re suddenly too tired to stay awake during the day, they may be taking much more than the recommended dose.
- Physical side effects: Slurred speech, shrinking pupils and constant itching are all side effects of opioids abuse.
- Extreme weight loss or gain:Some prescriptions suppress the appetite, causing excessive weight loss, while others trigger bloating and weight gain.
- Declining professional or academic performance:If they’re skipping work or class, missing important deadlines or having uncharacteristic problems with co-workers or classmates, it’s time to seek treatment immediately.
While confrontation is always uncomfortable, your concern could be exactly what your friend needs to see themselves and their habit from a new perspective. If you approach him or her about their prescription pill use and they get defensive or combative, take it as one more sign that you’re doing the right thing. The highs and side effects of pharmaceutical drugs often cause paranoia, delusion and a quick temper, all of which are trademarks of addiction itself, so this fight can be particularly difficult on family members. However, it’s important not to take anything personally and to focus on fighting this addiction together.
Receive High Quality Painkiller Addiction Treatment
The Treatment Specialist connects you with quality treatment options for painkiller addiction. We understand that each situation is unique, call to connect to a treatment center at 866-644-7911.