If you’ve ever taken pain medication, you know how beneficial it can be for your back, shoulders, legs, or other body parts. But like all things, too much pain medication can lead to problems like substance abuse and other mental health conditions. These difficult issues can take your life on a downward spiral, so you must understand the risks associated with pain medication and what risk factors your situation place you in. Here are the dangers presented by prescription pain medication and how addiction rehabilitation centers like Steps to Recovery can help.

What Are Pain Medications?

Pain medications are medicines used to treat chronic or acute pain in your body. Things like headaches, muscle soreness, and arthritis are all treated with these medications. Doctors may prescribe you over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications or stronger versions, known as opioids. Some over-the-counter options include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, and Aspirin. 

Opioid pain medications are effective forms of pain relief, but they also increase the risk of drug overdose and dependency. Below is a list of some of the more common opioids, a list you’ll probably recognize as some of the more dangerous drugs in circulation:

  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meperidine
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Tramadol
  • Hydromorphone

Are There Any Risks Associated With Pain Medications?

Many risks are associated with these medications, especially those on the higher end. For starters, extended use can lead to dependency, opioid use disorder, and, eventually, an opioid overdose. In addition, these medications can give users a “high” feeling that makes it harder to control their use, and they increase the risk of accidents on the road and the job because they slow reaction time. 

Also, pain medication can create side effects like nausea, constipation, and withdrawal symptoms when the brain becomes reliant on the feeling these drugs produce. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, runny eyes, decreased appetite, anxiety and tremors, hot and cold flashes, and diarrhea. People with previous struggles with addictive substances are at a higher risk of opioid overdose, so keep an eye out on anyone taking these substances for signs of trouble.

What Should You Do if You’re Taking Prescription Drugs for Pain?

If you or someone you know is taking prescription pain medications (especially opioid pain relievers), you should keep an eye out for any behavioral changes, mood swings, or other signs of problems. These include:

  • A tendency to take more drugs than prescribed.
  • A verbal or physical desire for more of the drug.
  • Taking high doses that make you feel drowsy, confused, or sleepy.

If you’re worried about an overdose, Naloxone can help restore breathing quickly to get an individual to the proper healthcare professional. Stay up to date and educated on the risks and signs of overuse and overdose, and never be afraid to speak to a doctor or medical professional for any help. Keep your medicine in a safe storage area, safely dispose of any unused medications, and keep track of your doses. Don’t mix opioids with any other medications, and when in doubt, find your local addiction treatment center and get more information and support.

Don’t Let Pain Medication Take Control of Your Life — Contact Steps to Recovery Today

While prescription opioid medications do have risks, they’re a necessity in the lives of many individuals. If these medications start taking control of your life, the help you need is one call away. At Steps to Recovery, we are one of the region’s best prescription drug addiction treatment centers, and you can contact us today for support in overcoming a dependency on these substances. Give us a call at267.719.8528 to get the help that you or a loved one may need.