It has been highly publicised America is at the centre of what many believe to be an opioid crisis. However, many feel the UK is following suit, as recent studies have shown, in the past decade, the number of prescription opioids have risen by more than half. Leading opioid medications to come with health warnings, informing people of the possibility of becoming addicted to painkillers.
It is certainly the case not everybody who uses opioids ends up developing an addiction, and many take pain killers with the best intentions, and for legitimate reasons. If you have had an injury, been involved in an accident, or suffering chronic pain from a medical condition, you may use painkillers.
There are a diverse range you can take, depending on the type of pain you are experiencing. These include the classic aspirin and prescription opioids like Tramadol, dihydrocodeine or morphine. Many people in the UK use antidepressants, sleeping pills and benzodiazepines. If you are suffering from inflammation, headaches or a bad back, you may take paracetamol. You could also take Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen, diclofenac and ibuprofen.
There may be no cause for concern when taking painkillers following your prescription, in line with your doctor’s instruction, to ease your suffering or manage your chronic pain. You may feel the positive effects of pain killers, where they provide relief, numb pain and leave you feeling relaxed and euphoric. However, if you continue using over the long term, or at regular intervals, the benefits may eventually dissipate. You may feel fewer effects, but if you keep taking the drug, there may be a greater possibility of building up a dependency on painkillers.
Unfortunately, it is not difficult to exceed the recommended amount, then begin abusing the drug and developing an addiction. There are numerous signs to keep an eye out for, which may point to someone having a problem. Do they continue using after the pain has gone, or replenishing prescriptions from different doctors, pharmacists or shops? They may embellish or exaggerate their condition, resort to borrowing or even criminality, either stealing or purchasing illegally, to get their hands-on drugs.
If you have been using painkillers for a long time and have built up an addiction, you may display a variety of physical symptoms. Extending from perspiration, pinpoint pupils and kidney and liver damage, to the possibility of seizures, amongst other conditions. People may also experience psychological or emotional effects such as confusion, impaired judgement, concentration issues, mood swings, anxiety or depression.
Ironically, the more someone takes painkillers, they increasingly have less chance of feeling the required effects. A tolerance may develop leading them to take a higher dosage, causing possibly decreased heart rate and blood pressure. In certain cases, it can cause someone to stop breathing or fall into a coma. They also run the risk of overdose, resulting in respiratory failure and even sudden death.
However, for many, the biggest indicator someone may have an addiction is what happens when they stop using the drug and begin showing the signs of withdrawal. It is customary to experience these effects when undergoing medical detox, considered the opening phase of a continuing rehabilitation treatment programme.
This comprises of ongoing rehab therapy sessions, where, through counselling, you could talk about your issues with heroin addiction. Allowing you to explore any underlying or pressing considerations which may lead you to take painkillers.
Experts believe detoxication, followed by regular counselling sessions, could be the solution to you using the drug altogether.
Most people take painkillers for relief, but if it becomes an addiction, it can end up being the source of your pain. But, by moving forward with treatment, under the care of a residential rehab centre, you could get to the very source of your problem and eliminate your dependency for good.