Physicians regularly prescribe painkillers for a variety of different problems, including injuries, illness and surgical recovery. Physical pain is a fact of life, but painkillers will be given in situations where the pain is frequent and severe, since chronic pain can prevent a person from functioning normally. These drugs are beneficial as they alleviate chronic pain which interferes with a person’s quality of life, and they do so rapidly. However, some people become addicted to these substances, and this addiction if left untreated can lead to serious consequences.
Who is most Susceptible to Painkiller Addiction?
The individuals most likely to abuse painkillers are those who have a history or drug abuse. Other likely candidates include those who suffer from mental illness or a history of injuries. Research indicates that the painkiller addiction is frequently found among the elderly. This should not be surprising, as the elderly tend to suffer from many age related diseases such as arthritis which causes regular pain. Due to the risks that are inherent with the use of painkillers, physicians must ensure the patients using them are monitored. These patients must also be taught preventive methods to keep them from becoming addicted.
Signs of Painkiller Addiction
Painkillers are distinct from other drugs in that the symptoms of addiction will typically be subtle, at least initially. The majority of people that use them won’t recognize the danger, and they will steadily increase the dosage over time. The length of time needed to recover from painkiller addiction is dependent on how long the drug has been abused. The longer the period of abuse, the harder it is to overcome. Below are some signs which indicate someone may be addicted to painkillers:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Frequent cravings for the substance
- Sweating and reduced coordination
- Regular constipation
- Steadily increasing the dosage
Those that are addicted to painkillers will have frequent mood swings, and may sometimes appear irritable. Addiction to these substances can also reduce one’s ability to sleep and impede decision making.
Seeking Addiction Treatment
Some people take painkiller addiction lightly, but it is a very serious matter. As with other drugs, attempting to quit cold turkey can make the situation worse, and this will result in withdrawal symptoms that can be debilitating. This may lead to a relapse where the addict will begin reusing the painkillers, perhaps more heavily than they did in the past. For most people, the best option is professional treatment.
Facilities are available which specialize in recovering from controlled substances, and many offer both outpatient as well as inpatient care. Outpatient care is favored by many because it allows them to get the necessary treatment without interfering with responsibilities such as work or family. The best treatment centers are those which offer personalized care. While painkiller addiction may result in symptoms and problems which are similar, each person is unique, and a treatment facility which is able to recognize and cater to these differences has a much better chance of assisting their patients in recovery.