Painkiller addiction is quickly becoming one of the most fatally abused drugs. And the scary part is, the addiction can stem from seemingly innocent intentions. Doctors initially prescribe many adults opioids, but subsequently patients become addicted or move to stronger drugs over time.
The risks associated with opioid use are real and scary. Knowing how people get addicted and the warning signs to look out for is your best defense against preventing addiction. However, if you think you might have a problem, it’s never too late to take action and reclaim your life.
How Do People Get Addicted to Painkillers?
Opioids are prescribed as a short-term solution to chronic pain. They don’t offer any healing. They only mask the pain by alleviating it temporarily. When prescribed by a doctor, opioids are not meant to be a way to manage or maintain chronic pain.
Opioids are highly addictive because they target both your brain and your physical being. While there is not one cause that can be pinpointed, there are various factors that lead to a dependence on painkillers:
- Genetic predisposition – There is a genetic component associated with any type of addictive behavior that plays a role in succumbing to a drug.
- The brain – The chemicals in painkillers can release dopamine, which gives a false sense of euphoria. The brain can become addicted to this release of dopamine and seek it out.
- Psychological – Prescription opioids are designed to reduce pain and boost feelings of euphoria. Individuals with undiagnosed depression or other co-occurring mental disorders are more susceptible to addiction.
How Quickly Can You Become Addicted to Painkillers?
Tolerance is the number one enemy to individuals taking prescription painkillers. Over time, a person’s body can adjust to the drug and its effects and it will no longer have the same outcomes as before. This is why opioids are only a short-term solution to chronic pain.
When a person loses their ability to function normally without use of the drug, that is when addiction sets in. The timeframe is different for every individual and factors such as overall health, age, body size and prescription strength can play a role.
Generally, when taken specifically as prescribed by a doctor, painkiller addiction is much more unlikely.
What are the Signs of Painkiller Addiction?
If you know and understand the warning signs of drug addiction, you can stay in control of the situation or know when you need to seek help.
Below are some of the more common symptoms of painkiller abuse:
- Your thoughts are occupied by when to take your next dose
- Frequent mood swings
- Social isolation
- Attempting to obtain additional prescriptions from doctors
- Depression, anxiety or worsening moods
- Building tolerance
Even if you think you have control over your use of prescription painkillers, if you have any remote cause for concern it should not be ignored. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s better to seek help now before things get worse.
Find the Help You Need to Overcome Addiction
At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we can help people understand the root causes of opioid addiction, and identify any underlying co-occurring conditions. Our program is specifically designed to equip you with the tools necessary to reduce the risk of relapse and take back control of your life. Talk to one our admissions specialists today and learn how you can begin the process of healing.