Painkiller Addiction: How it Happens

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Painkiller Addiction: How it Happens

Painkillers come in many different forms and have been around for decades.  Doctors seem to prescribe them without reserve, which has contributed to the great pharmacological addiction boom.  Painkiller abuse is a difficult addiction to combat.  Most people who start using painkillers do so because they need them.  Some may suffer from a short-term injury that leads to a long-term addiction and others may have chronic pain that will never go away.  Being in pain all the time is mentally stressful and exhausting.  The thought of having constant pain can cause horrific anxiety, making a person turn to the one substance they know that numbs it.
There are three different groups of painkillers.  The first is paracetamol, which includes Tylenol and Panado.  Although many think the use of these drugs is harmless, they can potentially cause liver failure if taken for a long period of time.  Many times people may drink alcohol with these substances, as well, which speeds up liver failure.  
The second category of painkillers is Aspirin and NSAIDS.  Aspirin is an effective pain killer, in addition to a blood thinner.  Although it is an over the counter medication, doctors prescribe it to patients who have heart issues because it decreases the chances of a dangerous blood clot.  NSAIDS, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, help to decrease inflammation, which causes pain.  NSAIDS and Aspirin may spare the liver slightly, but can cause severe stomach ulcers.
The final category of painkillers are opioids.  They can be taken orally or intravenously and have a high potential for abuse.  Drugs such as morphine, codeine, and tramadol fall into this category.  When a person has chronic pain due to injury or illness, opioids are the most effective.  Opioids trigger specific opioid receptors, which are located in the brain and spine.  When these receptors are triggered, pain will be reduced.  


Painkillers temporarily mask symptoms of pain; they are not a cure.  Pain relief typically only lasts about 6 hours.  When the medication has started to dissipate and the pain returns, a person may reach for more to feel well again.  This can go on for days, months, and years because the body becomes so dependent on the substance to function.  Even if a person is no longer in pain, the brain’s pleasure center remembers what it’s like to feel the enjoyable effects of the drug, so it craves more.  Painkiller addiction can happen to anyone.  Painkillers are intensely addictive and grab hold of a person who is desperate for relief.  There are others way to manage pain and break free from the cycle of painkiller addiction.


Treatment and recovery for addiction should be simple. Simple Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment for men and women in a multiphase format encouraging growth and development. Going back to school, back to work, or engaging in volunteer work, our clients waste no time starting their new lives as they continue to heal in mind, body, and spirit. For information, call us today: 888-743-0490