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The misuse of pain pills has been called an epidemic in the United States, affecting people of all ages and impacting families across the country. A 2014 survey found 1.9 million Americans were abusing prescription pain medications, and overdoses from these drugs are increasingly common. If your loved one has a problem with opioids—a category of substances that includes OxyContin, Vicodin, hydrocodone, Fentanyl, methadone, and heroin—you’re not alone. While painkiller addiction can take hold quickly, it’s not a life sentence. Here is what you need to know if someone you love is addicted to painkillers.
They may be legal, but they’re dangerous.
Even though pain medication might have initially been prescribed by a doctor for an issue your loved one was dealing with, they’re still addictive. These pain pills create a sense of euphoria that the body enjoys. Over time, the body can become physically addicted to the medication. Like other drugs, a person might start taking more pills to chase that high. But the side effects that come along with opioids can be lethal. They include drowsiness, nausea, and digestive issues. If someone overdoses, opioids can even cause that person to stop breathing. Because painkillers are often prescribed by a doctor, it’s easy for people to be in denial about their painkiller addiction—and the danger the drugs present.
Recognize the signs of a painkiller addiction
Your loved one might be trying to hide their problem or might not be ready to admit that their relationship with pain pills has spiraled out of control. Some might show obvious signs of a problem: They might begin to fall asleep at the dinner table, chew or crush and inhale pills, or switch from prescription pills to using heroin. Others might start running out of their prescription early, stealing pills or money from friends and family. As the painkiller addiction progresses they may begin “doctor shopping,” which is a term that describes the practice of seeing more than one doctor in order to obtain multiple prescriptions. As with other addictions, they might also begin to find themselves dealing with financial or relationship hardships or having trouble at work.
Understand why quitting painkillers is so difficult
Opioids are incredibly addictive, and withdrawals from the drugs can be excruciating. Once a person stops taking the pills, they might experience nausea, incontinence, shakiness, depression and flu-like symptoms. Because the experience is so terrible, they might start taking the pills again. They might not even realize that the initial pain that led them to seek out medication in the first place is gone, because the symptoms they experience when they are off the pills are so terrible. The truth is, quitting painkillers doesn’t have to be quite so painful.
Detoxing in a supportive medical environment is different
At Beach House, our expert medical team is ready to care for your loved one and keep them comfortable while they get the opioids out of their system. During the entire drug detox process, patients are supervised around the clock by our nursing staff. Our staff will help lessen the pain killer addiction side effects of the physical withdrawals, ensuring your loved one is comfortable and supported during their detox.
Imagine a future free of painkillers
We are also committed to helping our patients find safe, non-addictive solutions for dealing with their pain. After a lengthy addiction, your loved one might discover the pain that initially caused them to seek out pills is now gone. If not, we’ll help them deal with their issues in a healthy, non-harmful manner. There are many non-narcotic or holistic options for pain management. We’ll educate them in a supportive environment and, through addiction treatment, therapy, and group sessions, we’ll help them reconnect with their purpose. Even if their painkiller addiction might seem out of control now, it is possible to end the dependence and live a happy life, free from dependence on prescription drugs.