Painkillers are powerful pain-relieving drugs that are prescribed to help ease pain after an operation or an injury.
Pain-relievers are very useful when you take them according to your prescription. However, some types of painkillers also produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria in high doses, and because of their euphoric effects, people often abuse them and use them for pleasure, which can lead to developing a painkiller addiction.
Prescription painkiller abuse is a growing problem in the United States. Research by SAMSHA found that over 18 million people misused medicines in 2017.
That year, doctors wrote over 190 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers across the United States. Opioids are the active ingredient in most addictive painkillers and are highly addictive substances that cause a chemical change in your brain. While it is possible to become addicted when taking the medicines exactly as your prescription requires, misusing painkillers dramatically increases the chance of addiction. Struggling with such an addiction can be life-consuming. Those who are addicted can lose themselves to constantly seeking their drug, “doctor shopping” and living in fear. Today we take a much closer look at the drug, its makeup, and the problems of its abuse.
Addictive painkillers usually contain opioids.
Opioids are synthetically made opiates that have similar psychoactive effects to opium poppies. When you take opioids, you usually experience feelings of intense happiness and euphoria.
The most well-known opioid is morphine, but most newer opioid painkillers contain either hydrocodone or oxycodone.
You can buy opioid painkillers under brand names such as Lortab, Vicodin, Zohydro, Percocet, Hycodan, Roxicet, Percodan, and OxyContin.
Painkiller addiction is when you compulsively search for and use painkillers, even when they harm your health and welfare.
Opioid painkillers are addictive because of the changes that opiates cause in the brain. When you take an opiate, your brain releases a flood of chemicals known as dopamine and endorphins, and these chemicals produce feelings of euphoria, happiness, and intense pleasure.
You naturally produce dopamine and endorphins through activities such as running or eating chocolate. This pleasure, however, is far less intense than what you experience after using opiates, and it is these feelings of overwhelming pleasure that cause people to abuse opioid painkillers.
It is very easy to develop tolerance to opioid painkillers. If you use them repeatedly, at some point, you will need to take higher and higher doses to feel the same effect. After a while, your body stops producing dopamine and endorphins by itself. You become physically dependent on painkillers and become unable to properly experience happiness and pleasure without using them.
If you are wondering if you or your loved one has a painkiller addiction, the following list can provide some insight.
If any of these symptoms feel familiar, please give us at Cirque Lodge a call immediately. Picking up the phone to ask for help can seem scary, but we are here to offer compassionate and non-judgemental advice, and our medical professionals will answer any questions you have.
Physical and mental symptoms:
If you obtain pain-relievers online rather than via prescription, you cannot be sure of what is in the drug.
You may be buying a different substance than you think and, in the worst case, can be lethal. Painkiller addiction can cause long-term damage to your health, including:
Detox without medical support can also be dangerous, as, without medical help, you may risk experiencing seizures. When you stop taking painkillers, you must do so with the help of medical professionals to make sure the process is safe.
You should always follow the doctor’s instructions when taking medications, and when used correctly, painkillers are incredibly useful drugs to help relieve pain.
You should never take medications that are not prescribed to you and should always talk to a doctor before changing your dosage in any way.
In most cases, opioid pain-relievers should only be used as a short-term solution, and long-term use of pain-relievers makes developing a substance use disorder much more likely. Opioid painkillers are generally not suitable for chronic pain.
When storing these medicines, keep them in a safe location in your home and out of the reach of children, and when you no longer need to use pain medications, you should safely dispose of them.
At Cirque Lodge, our treatment program combines different therapies and support groups to offer you the best recovery opportunity possible.
Painkiller addictions are complicated and have many causes. By approaching the healing process in a variety of ways, we help you understand what these causes are and work with you to overcome them.
Our substance abuse treatment program includes detoxification, experiential therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, family sessions, and participation in the 12-Step program. Together, these treatments help you discover and reinforce the skills you need for lifelong recovery. Some of the therapies our clients take part in are:
Situated in the great outdoors of the Rocky Mountains, Cirque Lodge is the perfect place to offer experiential therapy. This type of therapy helps you reinforce skills you learn in other parts of the treatment program through practical activities. It also gives you the chance to rediscover your enjoyment and love for life as you engage in incredible experiences.
Some of the activities we offer are:
Individual and Group Therapy
Through individual therapy, we identify the causes of your drug addiction and help you learn to overcome it. You will talk with a professional therapist to find the reasons behind your addiction, and once we establish these, you will develop effective methods for dealing with them.
Group therapy focuses on your relationships and communication with others, one of the most important parts of overcoming drug addiction. It is also a chance for you to learn and support each other on the path to recovery.
Our support does not end at the end of your stay. We understand how vital the months and years that follow your treatment are. With our continuing care program, we will stay by your side as you continue to live a drug-free life.
You will work hand-in-hand with a case manager to create an effective continuing care plan that helps you transition from residential care back into everyday life. We will connect you with a support group network to attend weekly meetings, and you will also have the opportunity to work with our team and mentor other clients.