There are many misconceptions or myths of what a prescription painkiller addiction actually entails. Many people dismiss it as a less serious form of addiction, one that doesn’t need formal treatment. The reality is that prescription painkiller addiction (commonly a form of opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin) can be deadly. Sometimes it can be difficult to know when normal prescription painkiller use becomes an addiction.
Things You Should Know About Prescription Painkiller Addiction
There’s a difference between dependence and addiction. If you’re using a prescription drug regularly as prescribed over a period of time, your body may develop a physical dependence on it and experience some withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it. This is normal (although it happens in rare cases) and is not considered addiction.
Addiction comes into play when someone begins to increase the dosage without consulting with a doctor, and goes out of their way to get more prescriptions from different doctors. The signs are often difficult to distinguish between needing more medication for increasing pain, or if it is spiraling into addiction.
Prescription opioids affect the brain like heroin and morphine. Similar to drugs like heroin and morphine, opioids can provide a feeling of euphoria and well-being. When used over a period of time, your body may develop a tolerance for it and needs higher doses to feel the same effects.
It has nothing to do with having willpower. Many people mistakenly believe that drug addiction is a result of a lack of willpower. This is simply not true. Drug addiction to prescription painkillers is a chronic disease that needs to be treated just like any other.
How People Become Addicted to Painkillers
Many people suffer from chronic pain; in America there is estimated to be approximately 100 million people suffering from chronic pain as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In the U.S., there are a number of factors that may contribute to an increase in prescription drug abuse.
One is that more and more opiate prescriptions are being dispensed across the country with each passing year. The U.S. is the largest consumer of hydrocodone (commonly called Vicodin) globally. This combined with wide-reaching marketing campaigns by pharmaceutical companies and an overall societal acceptance of drug use is contributing to the painkiller addiction in the country.
If you’re on painkillers, take them only as prescribed. If you’re still experiencing pain under your normal dosage, speak to your doctor about it. If you have noticed signs of painkiller addiction in a loved one, seek help right away and call Beachway at 877-284-0353 anytime for help.