Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Benefits and Risks of Using Painkillers

Benefits and Risks of Using PainkillersDespite the spike in prescription drug addiction rates, painkiller use is a great benefit to society. If a medical patient is in crippling pain that slows or completely stops the patient from meeting his or her daily responsibilities, painkillers can dissipate the pain enough to allow the patient to function normally. The problem enters when the pleasure receptors in an individual’s brain become convinced that the individual will never be able to live without the drug again, causing him or her to take escalating doses even after the health issue that caused the pain is gone.

Risks Inherent in Painkiller Use

Many painkillers are opioids, highly addictive narcotics synthesized from concentrated opium extracts. This makes them more addictive than the strongest street opiates, such as heroin. Because painkillers are legally obtainable via prescription, patients find it easy to justify taking larger doses than they should. It is hard to convince them that their abuse is turning into addiction; they assume that the prescription legitimizes the drug to the point of harmlessness. Difficulties in other areas of life can also drive the user to seek solace in his or her medication, which usually has the added side effect of relaxing the mind as well as the body.

How to Reduce Painkiller Addiction Risk

Users of painkillers can reduce their risk of addiction by having close friends or family members keep an eye on how much of the drug they take, giving these accountability partners full permission to intervene with words or actions if the user starts to raise the dosage without telling his or her doctor. It helps to be in the care of a doctor who is truly concerned about the wellness of his or her patients and who does not indiscriminately hand out prescriptions without making sure patients really need them. If a patient is undergoing mental or emotional distress at the time of painkiller use, the patient should seek the company of close, caring loved ones or a therapist to talk through his or her problems, rather than give in to the temptation to use higher doses of a drug in order to numb his or her anxiety.

Painkillers are useful enough that they should not be dispensed with altogether. Patients must learn to take the instructions that accompany their medication seriously and not adjust their own doses. If they will see their painkillers as highly potent tools to be respected and used within strict guidelines, they are much less likely to develop addictions.

Recovery Help for Painkiller Addiction

If you or a loved one is abusing painkillers and wants to stop, our toll-free helpline is available for you to call 24 hours a day. You can find caring, effective treatment. Call us today.

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