The Side Effects of Painkillers and Addiction

Since the early 1990’s the number of prescriptions written and filled for painkillers (prescription opioids) has increased dramatically. In some states, the rate of prescriptions written is as high as sixty for every one hundred community members. Many in the medical community utilized various opioids to treat chronic pain conditions, post-surgical pain, and several other disorders believing the medications they were prescribing were less addictive than those that came before. Unfortunately, this proved to be inaccurate, and the rate of addiction to painkillers remains on the rise. While many who use painkillers do so as prescribed, the rate of misuse is disconcerting. Data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed nearly two million Americans misused prescription painkillers for the first time within the past year. This means almost 5,500 people each day began using these powerful drugs for purposes other than those for which they are intended. Due to the powerful nature of these drugs, many who start abusing painkillers are unable to get clean without seeking and receiving proper addiction treatment. 


The Side Effects of Painkillers That Are Commonly Abused

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths related to accidental overdose from prescription drugs has tripled in the last ten years. In addition, the number of people addicted to prescription drugs has grown to epidemic proportions. The most commonly abused painkillers in the United States include hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet), morphine, fentanyl, and codeine.


The side effects of painkillers and the severity of how they affect someone who is dependent or addicted will vary widely. Some common side effects are often seen in those who use commonly abused painkillers. They often include:


  • Significant changes in mood, including alternating states of depression and euphoria.
  • Behavioral changes 
  • Doctor shopping
  • New or worsening financial and legal problems
  • Outward physical symptoms including stomach issues, pinpoint pupils, slurred speech, sedation, slowed breathing, increased risk for cardiovascular emergencies, increased tolerance, seizures, coma, and death.
  • Psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, worsening mood swings, and psychosis. 


Without addiction treatment, an addiction to painkillers can be difficult and sometimes dangerous to overcome. The best opportunity for achieving sobriety is to seek treatment at a rehab like Rise in Malibu, where our treatment staff can help you overcome your painkiller addiction. 


Why You Should Go to Rehab if You’re Suffering From a Painkiller Addiction

If you are suffering from a painkiller addiction, it is crucial to seek help at a treatment facility like Rise in Malibu, where the treatment team specializes in painkiller addiction treatment. Addiction to these medications is complex and requires intensive and comprehensive treatment to increase the chances of recovery. The detox process from opioid painkillers like Vicodin and Oxy can be life-threatening. For this reason, it is crucial to detox and receive treatment in a setting where medical supervision is available. During medically supervised detox, a team of medical staff will continually monitor your vital signs to ensure safety. In some cases, providers can administer medications to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing alone or “cold turkey” can be dangerous and often leads to relapse if withdrawal symptoms become overwhelming.


Although there are hundreds of addiction treatment centers in California, not all provide the same level of care and treatment options. Addiction treatment programs that provide evidence-based, uniquely designed treatment models based on your specific treatment needs and goals have proven to be the most effective in helping addicts in rehab achieve sobriety. If you are ready to defeat your addiction to painkillers, reach out to the team at Rise in Malibu to learn more about how our treatment programs can help you begin your recovery journey. 


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