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What a Person Should Know if They are Using or Abusing Prescription Painkillers

Posted Mar 25 2012 9:22pm

Painkillers can provide ease of pain and improve the quality of life for many people who are suffering from chronic pain or recovering from surgery who use them as directed. However, the abuse of painkillers can have serious consequences such as developing an addiction, suffering from serious health risks and sometimes even resulting in death. Many take over-the-counter pain relievers for common pain. While these can have risk for addiction, health risks and even overdose, they are not as serious as prescription painkillers. Prescription painkillers work by attaching to the opioid receptors in the body and preventing  the cells from sending the pain messages to the brain. This is how those taking painkillers will experience pain relief. While many believe their prescription painkiller abuse is something they can quit at anytime, the experience of withdrawal proves otherwise. Painkiller addiction withdrawal symptoms include:

Muscle aches
Flu-like symptoms

Sometimes even symptoms include serious medical problems such as seizures. It is important to seek treatment in order to avoid these serious health risks, as well as receive treatment to ease the other uncomfortable symptoms.

Do I Have an Addiction to Prescription Painkillers?

Prescription painkiller abuse is the second most common type of illegal drug abuse following marijuana abuse. Painkillers are often abused for non-medical purposes and the ages of abusers range from young to old. These drugs are either swallowed in their pill form or crushed to be snorted. Although many believe abusing prescription painkillers illegally is the only way to form an addiction, this is not true. Some begin taking the pain medication as directed, but with time a tolerance for the medicine will build up and a higher dosage will be needed in order to get the same results. As the person increases the dosage of medicine, he or she may develop an addiction. Those taking painkillers, even under medical supervision, should know the signs and symptoms of an addiction to prescription painkillers. These signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

Defending drug use
Withdrawing socially
Change in personality
Lacking personal hygiene
Engaging in secret drug use
Having difficulty concentrating
Obtaining the drug is top priority
Suffering from respiratory problems
Changing sleeping and eating patterns
Needing more of the drug to produce the same feelings
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if the drug is not taken

Just because one displays these signs and symptoms does not mean he or she has an addiction problem, nor are these the only signs and symptoms of an addiction or abuse problem. If a person is truly concerned about their prescription drug use, he or she should speak to a professional.

The Dangers of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

As directed, prescription drugs can offer an alternative to those prescribed who are suffering from pain. However, there are many dangers associated with the abuse of prescription painkillers. Some of these dangers are:

Heart attack
Brain damage
Financial and legal troubles
Damage to organs, such as the kidneys and liver
Overdose leading to death or other severe health problems

This is only few of the many dangers associated with the abuse of prescription painkillers. It is important that anyone using or abusing painkillers know these risks and get treatment if needed.

Taking Painkiller Abuse Seriously

Many do not take prescription painkiller abuse seriously. Whether it is because they believe legal drugs cannot be bad for them or whether they believe they cannot become addicted to painkillers, both are far from the truth. All prescribed painkillers should only be used under medical supervision. If a person is abusing their own prescribed painkillers or illegally obtained painkillers,  he or she should seek help immediately. Help should be sought at a treatment facility where a person will be treated respectfully and professionally. Most treatment centers offer inpatient treatment programs that can be customized based on the needs and preferences of the client and also offer treatment during the detox phase for the uncomfortable and often painful withdrawal symptoms.  There is help available for everyone, the first step is seeking it. As with any addiction, including an addiction to painkillers, there is are serious and life-threatening risks associated with every use. Those who find themselves battling an addiction need to seek professional treatment immediately to ensure the safety and well-being of their life.

About the Author

Marilyn Kegley works with  to educate individuals about the dangers of substance abuse. After watching numerous loved ones struggle with addiction, her goal is to help as many people as possible get effective and successful rehabilitation treatment.

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