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While many who use prescription painkillers do so responsibly, the rate of misuse and subsequent addiction remains on the rise. Data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed nearly two million Americans misused prescription painkillers for the first time within the past year. This means nearly 5,500 people each day began using these powerful drugs for purposes other than those for which they are intended. Without proper addiction treatment, many who start misusing painkillers cannot get clean due to the intense withdrawal symptoms that often arise when they reduce or stop using. If you or a loved one struggle with a painkiller addiction but do not know how or where to get help, contact My Recovery Source today. Our knowledgeable team can help guide you to a treatment center in your area where you can get the help you need to kick this powerful and potentially dangerous addiction.  

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Pills in America

Let's Learn About Painkillers

Since the early 1990’s the number of prescriptions written and filled for painkillers (prescription opioids) has increased dramatically. Many in the medical community utilized various opioids to treat chronic pain conditions, post-surgical pain, and several other disorders believing the medications they were prescribing were less addictive than those that came before. Unfortunately, this proved to be an inaccurate assumption. Some opioid drugs have proven to be highly addictive and potentially dangerous when abused for extended periods. Across the nation, misuse of prescription painkillers is a serious public health problem. So much so that the federal government has created programs to control how prescription painkillers are prescribed. Also, members of the medical community have spent the last decade seeking and utilizing alternative treatments to reduce the number of prescriptions written for their patients.

Learn about painkiller addiction

Are Painkillers Addictive?

Put simply, yes; painkillers are addictive. Opioid use, even in the short term, can lead to addiction. Several factors play a role in one developing a painkiller addiction, including family history, personal history, and the length of time you take opioids. Opioid painkillers trigger the release of endorphins. These are sometimes referred to as the “feel good” transmitters in the brain. They are responsible for inhibiting the perception of pain and boosting feelings of pleasure. Using opioid painkillers helps create a sense of overall well-being. When the feeling wears off, users often find themselves wanting those feel-good feelings (or significant reduction in pain) back as soon as possible. This leads to “needing” to use, often for longer than prescribed or in larger doses than prescribed, which is the first step in addiction and a step that often leads to overdose. 


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Sign & Symptoms of Painkiller Addiction

The signs and symptoms of painkiller addiction will vary from person to person and can sometimes be hard to recognize. The severity of one’s symptoms often depends on the length of their addiction, the severity of their addiction, and genetics, among other factors. However, some common symptoms are seen in most who abuse prescription painkillers. They include:

  • Changes in mood such as significant mood swings and alternating states of euphoria and depression. 
  • Changes in behavior including social isolation, stealing to obtain money (or stealing pills from friends and family), “doctor shopping” to get multiple prescriptions, lying about their prescription use or need. 
  • Physical symptoms vary widely but often include stomach issues, pinpoint pupils, slurred speech, sedation, slowed breathing, increased risk for cardiovascular emergencies, increased tolerance, seizures, coma, and death.
  • Psychological symptoms include new or worsening mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, worsening mood swings, and psychosis. 


Learn how to help a loved one

How to Help Someone Who is Addicted to Painkillers

If a friend or a loved one struggles with a painkiller addiction, it can be difficult to know where to start to seek help. The first step you should take is to educate yourself. Try to learn all you can about addiction and how painkillers affect the body and mind. This will help you better understand the difficulties and challenges the addicted individual will face as they try to get clean. While the individual has the final say in whether they will try to seek help, understanding as much as possible about the cycle of addiction can help you have logical and empathetic conversations about the benefits of seeking help. 

The next step is to encourage them to seek help at a treatment facility specializing in painkiller addiction treatment. Addiction to these medications is complex and requires intensive and comprehensive treatment to increase the chances of recovery. The detox process from opioid painkillers can be life-threatening. For this reason, it is crucial to detox and get treatment in a setting where medical supervision is available. During medically supervised detox, a team of medical staff will continually monitor your vital signs to ensure safety. In some cases, medications can be administered to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing alone or “cold turkey” can be dangerous and often leads to relapse if withdrawal symptoms become overwhelming. 

Another option for helping someone who is addicted to painkillers is to hold an intervention. With an intervention, it is often important to have a pre-selected treatment facility in mind before the intervention occurs. This way, should the addict accept help, they can immediately begin the detox and treatment process. When selecting a treatment facility, it is essential to consider factors such as the level of care, duration of treatment, insurance coverage, amenities, and aftercare. The professionals at My Recovery Source can help provide you with information about programs in your area to make the decision process easier. 

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Find the best treatment

How to Find a Painkiller Addiction Treatment Program Near You

Today there are thousands of addiction treatment programs across the United States, but not all have the same level of care or provide treatment options for all needs. To ensure the greatest chances for treatment success, it is vital to choose a program that offers treatment based on the unique and specific needs of each patient that enters the program. If you are searching for a painkiller addiction treatment program near you but are unsure where to start, contact the team at My Recovery Source. 

At My Recovery Source, we have developed relationships with the best rehabs in each state. The information we can provide about these rehabs can reduce the stress and anxiety that often accompanies choosing the right rehab. Painkiller addiction is challenging to defeat but can be dangerous if not addressed. Let the team at My Recovery Source help you find a painkiller addiction treatment program near you today. 

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