Painkiller Addiction

Every year, more individuals suffer from the addictive effects of painkillers and alcohol. Opiate painkillers are particularly addicting, taking hold of roughly 6.1 million Americans each year. Approximately 52 Americans over age 12 have used prescription medicine for non-medicinal purposes in their lifetime. Painkiller prescription drugs are highly addictive, and addiction may not be apparent until it’s too late.

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Take that first step (888) 522-1658

It just takes one call to start on a path that can change your life dramatically for the better.
Find out how Elevate Addiction Services alcohol rehab centers can make that happen - today.

How Does Prescription Painkiller Abuse Occur?

Because prescription painkillers are powerful narcotics, they’re classified as opioids. Similar in structure to morphine, heroin, and codeine, opioids create analgesic—or pain-blocking—effects within the body. While painkillers and alcohol both inhibit one’s judgment, prescription painkillers directly interfere with the nervous system’s nerve signal transmissions.

Many facts about painkillers have been discovered in recent years. Experts currently working to further understand the opioid receptors which opiate painkillers bind to. These receptors, highly concentrated in the spinal cord and brain, are also located in the gastrointestinal tract. As the individual becomes further addicted to painkillers, these opiate receptor sites can become dysfunctional—resulting in a number of psychological disorders.

Commonly Abused Painkillers

Three opioid substances exist in painkillers. Most commonly, oxycodone exists in prescription painkillers. The painkiller oxycodone is often found in the following prescription-based medications:







Hydrocodone, meanwhile, is commonly found in Lorcet and Vicodin. Hydrocodone is commonly abused for its similar effects to oxycodone, though its subtle differences may be favored by some. Meperidine, meanwhile, is commonly abused in the products Darvon, Demerol, and Dilaudid.

Most of these products exist in tablet form. While they’re designed to be time-released, some addicted individuals alter the medication to manipulate the blocking mechanisms.

The Importance of Rehab for Painkillers

Because prescription painkillers act upon specific central nervous system receptors which are responsible for pain regulation, addiction potential is incredibly high. Prescription painkillers release large dopamine spikes in the brain—creating a “feel-good” effect. As usage increases, these medications can down-regulate an individual’s dopamine. They take over the body’s natural dopamine production, decreasing its natural production over time.

Understandably, these substances can’t take the place of neurotransmitters. They can’t act as the body’s natural functions. Because painkillers additionally have a central nervous system depressant effect, users might experience a number of symptoms while under the dopamine high:


Slowed bodily reactions


Slurred speech


Slower breathing

Extreme physical withdrawal symptoms await those who suddenly stop taking these medications. For this reason, prescription painkiller detox is needed. Within a few hours of painkiller cessation, an addicted individual may experience nausea, agitation, restlessness, muscle aches and vomiting. Trained professional assistance is absolutely vital to the individual’s safety—as is intensive care to prevent relapse.

The Painkiller Addiction Treatment Process

Painkiller addiction treatment, itself, consists of several expertly-led stages. In the first stage, highly qualified providers assist addicted individuals through withdrawal and detox. Withdrawing under medical supervision can help recovering individuals reduce the chance of relapse, taking medications which additionally curb the pains. Typically, these substances include Suboxone and methadone.

Direct Treatment

Once the detox stage has been completed, addiction treatment will begin. Effective treatment requires a personalized approach, of course. For this reason, the addicted individual will be screened for three separate things:


Their reason for taking prescription painkillers.


Their drug abuse triggers.


Possible practices and skills which might reduce further usage.

Then, a plan will be constructed to maximize the chance of recovery while reducing the chance of relapse. Again: Every patient is different. It’s important that a patient sit down with a medical team for an evaluation before a plan is designed. An effective painkiller addiction treatment program will cover medical, social, psychological and physical needs.

Relapse Avoidance and Long-Term Recovery

Once the addicted individual has undergone inpatient treatment, an outpatient treatment program may be presented. Remember: Relapse strikes when an individual feels vulnerable. Often, successful recovery requires a recovering individual to take care of themselves over long periods of time.

Typically, an inpatient program will offer outpatient support for recovering individuals. The disease of addiction requires consistent vigilance, and constant attention is required to support the individual’s long-term recovery. If you suffer from painkiller addiction—or, if a loved one displays signs of addiction—contact a provider immediately. Make sure you choose an accredited facility which focuses on the patient’s needs, too. Addiction is a delicate disease to handle, and custom-tailored treatment is absolutely required to protect the individual’s long-term recovery.

Rehab is affordable, and it’s always a real option. The threat of relapse is similarly real, and recovering individuals deserve professional programs which offer reliable, long-term chances of recovery.

Take that first step (888) 522-1658

It just takes one call to start on a path that can change your life dramatically for the better.
Find out how Elevate Addiction Services alcohol rehab centers can make that happen - today.

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