Get Help Today at Tallahassee Men’s Rehab for Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller addiction is a stealthy adversary, often taking hold when individuals are prescribed these medications for legitimate reasons, like post-surgery recovery or pain management due to injuries. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for patients to become entangled in the web of addiction during their healing process, even after the medical need for these drugs has passed. This particular form of addiction varies somewhat from others, with different demographics at play.
History of Painkiller Addiction
While painkillers have been used for centuries to alleviate physical discomfort, the modern history of painkiller addiction finds its roots in the 1700s with the synthesis of opium into morphine. This began a chain of opioid-based drugs, eventually leading to codeine and Methadone in the 1930s. Recently, numerous painkillers have flooded the market, many of which carry a high risk of misuse.
Typical Painkiller Addiction
Patients often use prescription painkillers for typical medical reasons like surgeries or injuries. What’s concerning is that these users can easily transition from medical use to addiction, often seeking to continue using the drugs when no longer necessary. The demographics of painkiller addiction show some unique patterns.
Young adults aged 18-25 are the most frequent abusers of prescription meds, with around 12% admitting to misuse in the past year. While this pattern is somewhat consistent with other addictive drugs, the unique aspect is the higher prevalence of chronic pain and longer-term use among men. Hydrocodone is the most abused painkiller, closely followed by OxyContin, which is becoming increasingly common among older Americans.
The Ease of Becoming Addicted
One of the concerning aspects of painkiller addiction is how easily a person can fall into its grasp. It’s now reported that painkillers have overtaken marijuana as the most common gateway drug for first-time substance abuse. In 2009, around 7 million Americans abused prescription medications, marking a 13% increase from the previous year, and experts expect this trend to persist.
Recognizing Painkiller Addiction
Identifying someone grappling with painkiller addiction isn’t always straightforward. Painkillers typically don’t produce noticeable impairment in speech or motor skills, have no distinctive odor, and their small size makes them easy to conceal. However, as an addict’s usage continues over time, symptoms may become more apparent:
- Drowsiness: Frequent nodding off during conversations or at inappropriate times.
- Poor hygiene: Reduced personal care, including infrequent bathing, untidy hair and facial hair, and repetitive clothing.
- Flu-like symptoms: Opioid painkillers can mimic flu symptoms, such as nausea, fever, and headaches.
- Weight loss: Painkillers often suppress appetite, leading to noticeable weight loss.
- Decreased libido
- Financial discrepancies: Maintaining a painkiller habit can be expensive, pushing some to steal money or valuables from others.
Cost of Painkiller Addiction
Painkillers differ from other addictive substances in how they impact an addict’s finances. Most addicts begin using painkillers as part of a legitimate medical recovery plan, often at a reasonable cost, especially when insurance helps offset the expenses. The issue arises when dependence develops, leading to abuse beyond medical necessity.
To sustain this habit, users may buy additional drugs beyond their prescribed limits or turn to the black market when their prescription runs out. While prescription painkillers are relatively affordable, costing between $40 and $100 for a full bottle, street prices can skyrocket, often reaching 10 to 13 times their market value.
The financial ramifications are only one aspect, as prolonged addiction can lead to job instability or loss while the cost of the addiction continues to rise. This combination often results in theft, robbery, and other criminal activities, carrying significant legal consequences.
Furthermore, painkiller addiction frequently leads users down a perilous path toward even more dangerous street drugs like heroin. Painkillers often serve as a gateway to heroin, seen by many addicts as a more accessible, cost-effective alternative to their current addiction.
Effect on the Addict
Painkillers are potent drugs designed for controlled use under professional guidance and only in the short term. The physical effects include deep relaxation, pain insensitivity, drowsiness, constipation, and slowed breathing. These drugs also impact the brain, creating euphoria by interfering with neurotransmitters.
Users risk muscle spasms, cardiovascular issues, and even death with prolonged usage. Painkillers are the leading cause of overdose in the United States, responsible for over 20,000 deaths in 2016 alone.
Long-term Recovery and Relapse
Recovering from opioid painkiller addiction is an arduous journey, with over 90% of those in recovery experiencing relapse. Many relapses happen in the early stages, within the first week or month. Painkillers alter brain chemistry, conditioning users to crave the drug for pleasure and reward.
Successful recovery often demands extended time in a controlled rehabilitation setting, removed from drugs, allowing cravings to subside. Therapeutic sessions, 12-step programs, and spiritual guidance play crucial roles in reducing the risk of relapse by helping addicts address the underlying causes of their addiction and make meaningful lifestyle changes to prevent future setbacks.
Detox for Painkiller Addiction
Detoxing from painkiller addiction can be challenging, as withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and duration. Early withdrawal symptoms may include agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, insomnia, sweating, and fatigue. In severe cases, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can also occur. While these symptoms are unpleasant, they typically subside within 7-10 days and, in most cases, are not life-threatening.
Although some people attempt to detox at home, it often leads to greater discomfort and higher relapse risks. Medical professionals can provide opioid detox medications like methadone or suboxone, which alleviate withdrawal symptoms to a certain extent.
Physical and Mental Challenges of Recovery
Recovering from painkiller addiction is a long and demanding process. After the initial withdrawal and detox, additional phases of recovery follow. The risk of relapse remains high, primarily due to powerful cravings. Recovery plans may include tapering protocols, with prescribed medications like methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, or naloxone to reduce cravings. Therapy also plays a significant role in recovery, helping individuals address the root causes of their addiction and make lasting lifestyle changes to safeguard against future relapse.
Seek Help at Tallahassee Men’s Rehab
At Tallahassee Men’s Rehab, we understand individuals’ struggles when caught in the web of painkiller addiction. Our program provides hope for those grappling with addiction by offering a full year of structured rehabilitation in a supportive environment. This extended period of care enables addicts to overcome their painkiller addiction, setting them on the path to recovery. Unlike many other rehab programs that are either shorter or prohibitively expensive, we focus on comprehensive healing to break free from addiction. Don’t let painkiller addiction control your life; take the first step toward recovery with us.
1Narconon. “A Brief History of Painkiller Abuse”. http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/a-brief-history-of-painkiller-abuse/
2National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Abuse of Rx Drugs Affects Young Adults Most”. February 2016. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/abuse-prescription-rx-drugs-affects-young-adults-most
3Foundation For a Drug Free World. “The Truth About Painkillers : International Statistics”. http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/painkillers/international-statistics.html
4Partnership For Drug-Free Kids. “Sky-High Prices for Prescription Opioids”. June 1, 2011. Staff. https://drugfree.org/learn/drug-and-alcohol-news/sky-high-prices-for-prescription-opioids-sold-on-street/
5Addiction.com. “12 Signs Someone You Love Has A Painkiller Problem”. June 2015. Lisa Davis. https://www.addiction.com/11175/12-signs-someone-you-love-has-a-painkiller-problem/
6Becker’s ASC Review. “Prescription Painkillers Cost Up to 13 Times More on Street”. June 6, 2011. http://www.beckersasc.com/pain-management/prescription-painkillers-cost-up-to-13-times-more-on-street.html
7NPR. “Prescription Drugs Lead to Spike in Crime Rates”. May 9, 2011. Deborah Becker. http://legacy.wbur.org/2011/05/09/crime-rx-drugs
8Administrative Office of the Courts. “Prescription Drugs: Short and Long Term Effects”. http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/stopteendui/teens/resources/substances/pharming/short-and-long-term-effects.cfm
9DrugAbuse.com. “The Effects of Painkiller Use”. Eric Patterson. http://drugabuse.com/library/the-effects-of-painkiller-use/
10American Society of Addiction Medicine. “Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures”. https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf
11DrugAbuse.com. “Opiate Relapse”. Cassandra Keuma, LPC. http://drugabuse.com/library/opiate-relapse/
12DrugAbuse.com. “Painkiller Detox and Withdrawal”. Joe Houchins, MA. http://drugabuse.com/library/painkiller-detox/