In short, yes, absolutely you can become addicted to painkillers, but there are many reasons how and why people become addicted to painkillers.
Painkillers are arguably the most common addictive drug in the United States. The Drug Enforcement Agency in 2017 found that more people reported using controlled prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. In 2012, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 25 percent of people who misused prescription drugs by age 13 ended up with an addiction at some point in their life.
Why Do People Become Addicted to Painkillers?
Painkillers are easily addictive because of the chemical makeup. The active chemicals in painkillers activate receptors in the brain, minimizing levels of perceived pain. Painkillers can also lead to a feeling of euphoria, masking pain throughout the body. Painkillers also can induce relaxation, providing relief from tension. Tolerance can be built up quickly by taking painkillers frequently, therefore, a higher dosage may be used to receive the same effect. Building up a tolerance can lead to a rapid development of dependency and addiction.
One common type of prescribed painkiller, opioids, has led to a national crisis in the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2018, every day more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.
How Do You Become Addicted to Opioid Painkillers?
An opioid is a class of drug that includes oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl. Like other painkillers, opioids produce pleasurable effects when dealing with chronic pain. When the sensation begins to fade, opioid users often seek the pleasurable feelings again and can build up a tolerance to the drug. This is the first step on the path towards a potential addiction.
Opioid Crisis Statistics:
- Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them
- Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder
- An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin
- About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids
Although prescription opioids can be used to help relieve moderate-to-severe pain, opioids carry serious risks of addiction and overdose, especially with prolonged use.
Opioid Crisis Statistics:
-roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them
-between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder
-an estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin
-about 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids
Signs of Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller addiction symptoms can vary depending on the person, dosage, and painkiller. Listed below are some of the common signs of painkiller addiction:
- “Doctor shopping” – visiting multiple doctors to get prescribed painkillers
- Engaging in dangerous and/or illegal activity
- Social isolation
- Diminished participation in significant activity
- Lack of decision-making skills
- Heavy perspiration
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Decreased blood pressure
- Pupil dilation
- Impaired coordination
Painkiller addictions can be incredibly harmful, with side effects impacting every aspect of the body, mind, and life. If you are or a loved one may be suffering from a painkiller addiction, Treatment Center XL is here to help with painkiller addiction treatment services.
How to Overcome Painkiller Addiction
You are not alone in fighting your painkiller addiction. We understand that what you are going through is complex. Tackling addiction is a process and we know just how to approach it with our drug recovery programs. Call Treatment Center XL for more information on conquering painkiller addiction.