Opioid Addiction Is a Real Danger
You’re hurt in an accident that requires a surgical procedure. As you start healing, the pain is incredible. Your doctor prescribes strong pain medications, but even after using them for a few months, you still feel intense pain if you try to stop taking them. Your need for the pills is interfering with your quality of life and your health. But you cannot stop.
Although opioid-based painkillers are quite effective, developing an addiction to them is a real danger.
How Common Is Opioid Addiction?
Opioid painkillers are a growing problem in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in 2018, 70% of them involved opioids. From 2017 to 2018, the rate of prescription opioid-involved deaths dropped by 13.5% from an all-time high. Still, the risks remain.
If you’re using opioids, you are at a high risk for overdose. Heroin, another type of opioid, produces the same type of high and pain relief as prescription drugs. That’s why many people turn to heroin when their prescriptions run out – it’s more readily available and cheaper to get. But heroin is even more dangerous and addictive than prescription medications.
What Are Common Painkillers That Cause Addiction?
Common prescription opioids include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (Percocet and OxyContin)
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
- Morphine (Avinza and Kadian)
Any of these can lead to an addiction if used outside the parameters prescribed by your doctor or when used for a long period of time.
How Do Prescription Drugs Lead to Opioid Addiction?
Opioids interfere with the function of the brain. They bind to and activate opioid receptors that control feelings of pain and pleasure. Opioids stop the brain from recognizing the pain it feels from other areas of the body.
At the same time, opioids stimulate the brain to release a large amount of dopamine, a hormone that controls pleasure. The brain then begins to seek this pleasure, reinforcing the act of taking the drug over and over again. As the brain develops tolerance, it will require more of the drug to get the same type of high. Higher amounts of the drug flood the body with toxins, which leads to overdoses. Too much of the drug shuts the body down.
How Do You Know You’re Addicted to Painkillers?
You’re taking pain medications to stop pain – but how do you know that you’ve crossed into the area of addiction? It’s not always easy to determine.
Look for some of the most common warning signs of opioid addiction such as:
- Running out of your prescription too soon
- Requesting appointments with multiple doctors to get more prescriptions
- Feeling agitation and even aggression when you do not have access to the drugs
- Stealing or “borrowing” pills from other people
- Taking medications to feel good, not just to reduce pain
When you do not use the drugs, you may notice withdrawal symptoms such as pain, intense emotions, headaches, and nausea. Intense cravings are a sure sign that you’re struggling with addiction.
The sooner you recognize addiction in yourself or a loved one, the better. Treatment is available and can be very effective.
What Can You Do About an Opioid Addiction?
Opioids impact the body in many ways. The longer you use them, the more risk you have for developing complications, including organ failure. Overdoses are also a big risk. That’s why you need to take action now if you are using opioids and have an addiction. Even if you don’t feel you’re addicted yet, getting help to stop using the drugs now can be incredibly important for your future health.
Reach out to DK Solutions Group for immediate help. We can provide you with the one-on-one support and guidance you need to stop using. The sooner you take action, the more likely you are to prevent the onset of health complications.