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Painkiller Addiction Signs

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Painkiller Addiction Signs

A very real danger of abusing a pain medication is the potential it presents for a life-threatening addiction.  Records show that the abuse of drugs that are prescribed to treat pain currently rival that of some illicit substances.  These statistics are further supported by the fact that overdose deaths caused by painkiller abuse, in some cases, exceed fatalities directly attributed to the combined use of most illicit street narcotics. Although when used appropriately, painkillers are safe and helpful in mitigating the pain and suffering of patients, there are a number of variables that makes the development of dependence and addiction to pain pills possible.

Experts say a major problem with stopping this addiction at the onset is the misconception that it is safer than illegal drugs. This belief often causes many to ignore the obvious indicators that someone has become trapped in the cycles of addiction. Another problem is having insufficient knowledge about the inherent danger of using these drugs to recognize and be proactive about getting timely treatment to address the following signs of addiction.  

Painkiller Addiction Signs

  • Using more of the drugs than is recommended by the prescribing physicians is a positive indicator of a dependence or addiction to a pain medication.   
  • Prolonged or consistent use of a painkiller after the primary reason for use of the drug has been resolved.
  • Experiencing discomfort or withdrawal symptoms when drug use is halted or through forced abstinence such as nausea, vomiting, insomnia, muscle and bone aches, etc.
  • Preoccupation with getting and using painkillers.  Obsessive seeking and compulsive use of any addictive substance including painkillers is characteristic of an addiction disease.
  • Seeking alternate sources to get more painkillers.  People with an addiction to a painkiller who can no longer get drugs from their primary physician typically doctor shop, turn to an illicit drug supplier or an online source to support their dependence on these drugs.
  • Changing the original methods of administration from swallowing a pill to crushing it and snorting or injecting it is indicative of painkiller abuse.
  • Excessive spending on pain medication. Spending excessive amounts of money to support the drug habit.  As the addiction progresses, this typically leads to stealing or petty crimes that can create an even greater financial hardship through loss on income or legal fees for the individual and their family.  
  • Changes in behavior such as mood swings, neglect of physical appearance or lack of interest in normal activities.  
  • Becoming more and more secretive or defensive about drug use.  

Painkiller stimulate the same centers in the brain as illicit drugs.  Studies indicate that over 15 million Americans abuse prescription drugs.  Frequently consuming more drugs than is recommended has resulted in a fatal drug overdose. The Mayo Clinic describes painkiller abuse as using these substances in ways that were not intended by the prescribing doctor such as sharing the drugs with friends or family and for other purposes other than to mitigate pain.   

Sources:

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