7 Symptoms of Painkiller Addiction

Prescription painkillers are highly addictive opioid medications. You might think that only recreational or illicit painkiller abuse can lead to addiction. But those who take prescription opioids under a doctor’s supervision can also develop a painkiller addiction. Recognizing the symptoms of painkiller addiction allows you to identify when you have a problem and seek appropriate treatment.

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Here Are 7 Symptoms of Painkiller Addiction

1. You’re Using Them Differently Than Is Indicated

If you have used prescription painkillers recreationally or illicitly, you have probably taken a different dose than was recommended. Although abusing opioids a few times doesn’t mean that you’re addicted, it can increase your risk of becoming dependent on them or developing a painkiller addiction. Every time you take a narcotic, the reward circuitry in your body is hijacked. Your body loses its awareness of its natural feel-good chemicals, and you start to feel pleasure only from the drug. The effectiveness of opioids for legitimate physical conditions also diminishes over time. If you have a chronic condition that isn’t managed in another way, you might feel like the painkillers stop working after a few weeks. In order to elevate the effects of the drug, some people alter their dosage amount or schedule. They might avoid taking one dose, power through the pain, and take two pills at once later on. They may take more doses in one day than the doctor prescribed, paving the way for a painkiller addiction.

2. Your Day Revolves Around the Drug

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about taking the medication? Preoccupation with the hours until you can take your next dose or how you’re going to procure the drugs can be concerning. It could indicate that you’re developing a painkiller addiction. The substance abuse may border on painkiller addiction if you’re so absorbed by thoughts of using that you neglect other areas of your life. If obtaining or taking the substance takes precedence over your schoolwork, job, family life or social life, you could be facing a painkiller addiction.

3. You Source the Painkillers from Multiple Places

Many patients with a valid prescription for painkillers find that the current dose stops improving their symptoms. However, their doctor may be hesitant to prescribe more because of the risk of painkiller addiction. Therefore, an individual may seek out other doctors to prescribe the drug. They may also get it from illegal sources, including the internet and friends. If that doesn’t work, some individuals with a painkiller addiction resort to stealing the medication from a sick friend, buying street drugs or inducing an injury to get the medication.

4. You’ve Been Taking Painkillers for too Long

Prescription painkillers are intended for short-term use. They offer comfort after surgery and relief as an injury heals. Experts suggest that the ideal length of use for acute conditions is three to seven days. You should take other measures to heal the condition that is causing the pain. But that’s not always so easy. In fact, chronic pain is notoriously difficult for patients and providers to manage. Evidence shows that opioids relieve chronic pain in the short term. However, it’s unclear whether quality of life and function get better with long-term use. The risks of negative effects, including painkiller addiction, outweigh the benefits after you have been taking opioids for too long. As your body develops a tolerance to the drug, you stop getting the same outcome when you take it. The painkillers may stop serving their intended purpose. If you were taking the medication for pain, your discomfort may return. Chronic pain may even feel worse when you have a painkiller addiction. If you were using the substance to get high, you won’t experience the same euphoria from each dose. Taking higher doses can intensify the effects, but you’ll never reach the same high as the first time. Developing a tolerance is dangerous. It is the gateway to painkiller addiction, and it increases the risk of overdose.

5. You Have Withdrawal Effects of Painkiller Addiction

When your body is accustomed to a regular influx of chemicals, it adapts to the new ecosystem. It depresses and revs up other processes to find balance. You start to feel “normal” only when you’re under the influence. Abstaining from the medication when you’re dependent on it produces withdrawal symptoms of painkiller addiction, including the following:
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
The intensity of withdrawal symptoms usually corresponds with the severity of the painkiller addiction. Effects of withdrawal will be worse if you are highly dependent on or addicted to the drugs.

6. You’re Defensive About It

Dealing with long-term physical or psychological co-occurring disorders is frustrating. When you feel as though you have found something that helps, you can become anxious at the thought of losing it. Even if the painkillers don’t work as well as they used to, you don’t know how you’ll function without them. This concern can make you defensive when people bring up your use of the medication. If you become angry when loved ones ask you about it or panicky when discussing your dosage with a doctor, you may have a painkiller addiction.

7. You Can Manage Your Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller addiction is so prevalent that clinicians must follow specific guidelines when prescribing it. It’s best to start with the lowest effective dose and offer a variety of other modalities to encourage healing. Still, doctors prescribe enough painkillers each year for every American to have their own bottle. Even more painkillers are dosed outside of the medical system altogether.

Get Help Today for Painkiller Addiction

If you’re struggling with painkiller addiction, let someone know. Tell your doctor, work with your therapist, or contact us. The key to treating your painkiller addiction is addressing co-occurring disorders. You should explore modalities to heal the condition that led you to use opioids in the first place. At our comprehensive addiction treatment center, you’ll have a safe space to recover. In addition to treating the substance use, you’ll work toward physical and mental wellness. There are many alternatives to medication for managing pain as well as psychological health conditions. Find the combination that works for you at Burning Tree Programs.

Find an Inpatient Rehab Program Now

We are here to help you through every aspect of recovery. Call our admissions team to find the best for long-term recovery.

(866) 287-2877


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