Facts About Painkillers That You Didn't Know
What Are Prescribed Painkillers?
Prescribed painkillers are the medicines which are prescribed by a physician or a doctor and the main purpose of these medicines is to reduce pain. These medicines or drugs are not meant to cure or treat any illness, disease, or disorder, but simply to alleviate pain. Some types of painkillers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, aspirin, opioids, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, or paracetamol.
These pain relievers can be prescribed by the doctors for a wide range of conditions, from a broken leg to alleviating pain after undergoing an operation. These pain relievers involve the use of an element known as opium and it is a highly addictive compound which can impair judgment and motor functions.
These drugs often lead to a short-lived euphoria, and there are people who enjoy this feeling and experience the urge to continue to relive it. There are several risks involved with these prescribed medications, particularly with substance abuse, that leads to other problems and complications. Now, let's talk about that.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Painkiller Addiction:
Addiction of pain relievers is a serious problem and they must be treated that way. It is likely that you have heard stories of addictions from the media or might have watched in movies. Pain relievers may lead to serious risks and disorder, especially when they are taken consistently or with higher doses. Below are some of the facts about pain relievers that you must be aware of.
1. Painkillers may lead to other addictions:
This might sound obvious to you, but it is to a much higher extent than what you believe. Individuals who are prescribed opioids by their doctors are 19 times more likely to start consuming drugs such as heroin. In fact, the urban injection drug users interviewed in the year 2008 and 2009 found that about 86 percent had used pain relievers either medically or non-medically before they got addicted to heroin.
2. The withdrawal symptoms must be taken seriously:
After you consume these drugs for a while, your body may become dependent on it, and it would become difficult for you to carry on your day without the pain killer. Once your body has started to depend on the medicine, a higher dose might be required to create the same effects. After some time, once the body has turned fully dependent on the drug, quitting it may lead to some serious effects, including diarrhoea, insomnia, vomiting, involuntary muscle spasms and nausea.
3. The side effects could be lethal:
Overdoses have become a pretty common activity all over the world, especially in the US, and 68 percent of them involve the use of opioids. One of the most critical risks with pain relievers is the probability of respiratory depression.
Higher doses of medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and NSAIDs can cause breathing to slow down to the point that the individual dies. Some side effects which you might experience with these drugs involve nausea, constipation, drowsiness, decreased cognitive abilities and dizziness.
While these conditions are not fatal, they certainly can inhibit a person's ability to perform essential duties for their health, which can lead to malnourishment and other potentially fatal diseases.
4. Symptoms can be spotted easily:
Taking appointments from multiple doctors to get prescriptions for pain relievers, social withdrawal, slurring speech, lying about activities and whereabouts or stealing medication that has been prescribed to someone else, are common indicators of addiction.
If you know someone who involves themselves in these behaviours, or if you exhibit them yourself, these are the key signs of painkiller addiction. If you are looking for physical symptoms, they would likely include impaired coordination, dilated pupils and a lot of perspiration. If all these symptoms are seen in the individual, then that person needs immediate attention and treatment.
5. Treatment is not the ending:
Many individuals who receive treatment, unfortunately, would relapse, as addiction is extremely powerful. About 40 to 60 percent of patients would abuse the drug again. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying.
Yes, there are many who go back to substance abuse, and that is only because treatment is not a cure. Recovery nowadays, is a lifelong process. The three crucial steps are seeking treatment, starting to recover and maintaining abstinence. If someone close to you or your loved one has received such a treatment, do what you can to support them and make them feel better, as they would surely need a helping hand.
It is pretty clear that the risk involved in medications such as ibuprofen, opioids, acetaminophen, aspirin and NSAIDs are incredibly crucial and must be treated with proper care. If your doctor has prescribed a painkiller, make sure that you take the necessary steps to avoid addiction.
1) Tell your doctor about your concerns:
If you already know that consuming these medications might be problematic for you, let your doctor know so that they can guide you in a beneficial way. Even if you think that you wouldn't face any problems, let your doctor know that you wish to use them in the safest way.
2) Never share your prescriptions with anyone:
Sharing medication prescriptions is not only illegal, but it can even result in the person being addicted to the drugs. According to a survey, conducted by the White House Office of National Drug Policy, about 55 percent of the Americans who consumed pain relievers non-medically, attained the medication from a family member or friend for free.
3) Take your medicines only as directed:
While talking to your doctor regarding prescribed painkillers, ensure that you are only taking the drugs as needed and as directed by your healthcare provider. Discuss with your doctor in detail, the plan of weaning off the medicines.
Understand that there would be pain involved, but it should be considered as a part of the healing process. Trying to numb that pain could be both, physically and emotionally damaging, hence, you must avoid it as much as possible.
4) Minimize the risk of drug interactions:
The FDA explains that you should never mix opioids with antihistamines, alcohol, barbiturates or benzodiazepines. All of these elements slow down breathing and their combined effects may lead to life-threatening respiratory depression.
Neither should you mix them with other painkillers such as NSAIDs, aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, unless directed by your healthcare.
5) Look for some non-addictive alternatives:
If you are consuming pain relievers for a surgery, be in touch with a physical therapist to safely start working out the area which is affected. After some days, taper off the prescription medication by alternating it with over-the-counter painkillers like Aleve or Advil, and apply ice on that area.
Make sure that you are maintaining a balanced, healthy diet to promote healing, and drink plenty of water everyday.
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