Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Is There Such a Thing as Controlled Painkiller Use?

Is There Such a Thing as Controlled Painkiller Use?Prescription painkillers are among the most addictive substances available. These highly refined opiates are directly related to their more infamous cousins, heroin and opium. Countless people have become addicted after using these substances for a relatively short amount of time. You may think that your use of painkillers is under control, but most addicts once thought the same thing.

How Painkiller Addiction Happens

Narcotic painkillers work by binding to pain transmitters in the brain. However, in the process of blocking physical pain, these drugs also block any negative emotions like anxiety, depression or other emotional distress. Users often feel a rush of euphoria as the drug washes over the brain. The brain will often crave this high and the short-term relief of emotional pain more powerfully than conscious thought.

The user’s body develops a tolerance to these drugs very quickly. This means that they will need higher or more frequent doses to feel the original effects. If they chase that high by increasing their dosage they begin the addiction process. This is the reason most prescription painkillers are used for short-term pain relief associated with injury or surgery, and not the long-term relief of chronic pain.

Symptoms of Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller addiction is both physical (the brain needs it to function properly physiologically) and psychological (the brain needs it to function emotionally). The following symptoms may develop in any painkiller addict:

  • Taking the medication more frequently than prescribed
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Combining the medication with other drugs or alcohol to intensify the effects
  • Feeling or acting defensive when asked about drug use
  • Justifying continued abuse
  • Procrastinating cessation of drug use or seeking help
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms if a user goes long enough without a dose. This could be pain, flu-like symptoms, anxiety, panic or depression.
  • Dishonesty with doctors, pharmacists, friends or loved ones about drug use

You may think that you have your painkiller abuse under control, but this disease is progressive. If left untreated you will need more and more of the chemical to function. Eventually you will be unable to achieve the desired pain effects no matter how much you take. This may cause you to turn to heroin or other opiates, or to combine drugs. Overdose, damage to internal organs and permanent brain damage are all possible results for these habits. The time to get clean is now and we can help.

Painkiller Addiction Help

Quitting opiates cold turkey is rarely successful and can be dangerous. Those who do manage to detox on their own will face aspects of their psychological addiction that they will almost certainly be unable to resist. The most successful painkiller recovery programs offer a wide range of specialized services, including the following:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Support groups
  • 12-step programs
  • Accountability
  • Aftercare

If you are concerned about your painkiller use, or if you are worry about the drug use of a friend or loved one, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today. Counselors are standing by right now to help you start the process of getting clean.

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