Pain Pill Addiction
There are various reasons that people take painkillers. Some, such as the elderly or athletes, may have chronic conditions like arthritis or long-term injury that require them to take some type of pain relief for an extended amount of time. Others may simply require occasional use of pain medicines. Regardless of the reason for use, it is possible to the user to become addicted to pain pills. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, addiction to painkillers can have some surprising side effects.
Risks of Addiction
Simply because you are prescribed pain pills or you regularly take over-the-counter pain medication does not indicate a likelihood of addiction. There are, however, some risk factors to be aware of that are often related to possible abuse of painkillers. If you have a past history of substance abuse issues or if they are present in your family, you may want to proceed with caution when taking pain meds.
Also, be particularly aware if you are dealing with serious stress or emotional problems while on pain medication, as this could lead to potential misuse. Finally, monitor your reaction to particular medicines.
Many people experience adverse reactions to certain pain killers, but if you notice a positive sensation or high related to the consumption of such medications, you’ll want to mention it to your physician.
It’s well-known that painkillers pose risk of addiction, but there are several side effects that most people may not be aware of. Such side effects include:
- Drug Interaction – Talk to your doctor about other medications or herbal supplements you may be taking. Also, be sure to ask about the risk of consuming alcohol with certain medications. Certain drug combinations can be deadly.
- Tolerance – Many people will develop a tolerance to painkillers, meaning that they do not feel the effects of the medication over time and soon require higher doses in order to achieve the desired effect. Often, this is a spiral leading to addiction.
- Nausea – Painkillers, particularly those containing morphine, may lead to nausea and vomiting.
- Constipation – Sustained use of pain medication can wreak havoc on the bowels, often leading to constipation. It can also bring on other related health problems.
- Dry Mouth – Pain relievers affect the salivary glands and can cause chronic dry mouth.
- Cardiovascular Problems – Those with current or past heart problems will want to be aware that there is increased risk of cardiovascular difficulties associated with certain pain medicines. Rapid or decreased heart rate are also seen.
- Constricted Pupils – Prolonged and continual use of pain pills can cause the pupils to become constricted or smaller. This is a condition often seen in street drug addicts as well.
- Skin Problems – Skin sensitivity all over the body, hives, and itchy skin are commonly associated with addiction to pain meds.
- Vision Problems – Blurred vision or “spidery” lines at the edge of vision are severe side effects experienced by some.
Surprising Side Effects of pain Pill Addiction
- Respiratory Distress – Difficulty breathing or tightening of the chest are observed side effects related to painkillers.
- Psychological Disorders – In some instances, addiction to pain medicine can cause irritability, confusion, or hallucinations.
- Other Aches – Though one pain may be relieved by the prolonged use of medication, sometimes a user will develop pains elsewhere in the body.
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A variety of other problems may be seen with use or abuse of pain medications. Be on the lookout for such issues as sleep problems, cold symptoms, weakness, or changes in appetite.
Communicate With Your Doctor
If you are currently taking prescription or over-the-counter pain medicines and notice any of these symptoms, work with your doctor to find the best course of action for you. You may need to seek the help of a physician who specializes in pain management or a pain contract may be necessary in your treatment. Your doctor may recommend that someone else be responsible for dispensing your doses of medication. Another alternative is the use of a transdermal patch that delivers the medication slowly, reducing the risk of addiction.
Whatever the case, communication is key when dealing with issues of possible pain pill addiction. Be honest with your physician and with yourself.