The need for pain relief sends plenty of folks to see a doctor. The medical professional asks a few questions and frequently prescribes a medication. But when this drug is an opioid, there’s a chance that someone can develop a prescription drug addiction. Has this happened to you or a loved one?
The Dangerous Duo
While there are different painkillers on the market, two stand out because of their addictive properties. Vicodin, which consists of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, and OxyContin, which is oxycodone, cause plenty of people to stumble. Because they are the go-to prescription painkillers of choice, you find them in many American medicine cabinets. There, they tempt patients as well as teens, who see half-empty pill bottles sitting around.
How Do the Drugs Create a Pain Pill Addiction?
At the heart of the substances is the opioid that directly stimulates dopamine production. Dopamine is the body’s “feel good” chemical that the brain releases as a positive reinforcement. When you leave the gym after an hour’s workout, you have a spring in your step and feel great. That’s dopamine at work.
As an addiction forms, a patient may take more than the prescribed amount. The goal is to trigger the dopamine release artificially. Before long, someone struggling with an addiction may crush the tablets and snort them or inject them. Soon, the brain undergoes a rewiring to release dopamine only when it receives artificial chemical triggers to do so.
Is Someone You Love Caught up in the Vicious Cycle of Substance Abuse?
Do you live with someone you suspect of struggling with a pain pill addiction? If so, you know that it can be difficult to say for sure. However, some signs point in that direction.
- Multiple prescriptions at various pharmacies. Doctor shopping, calling in allegedly lost orders and getting painkillers from different stores hint at addiction.
- Making requests for painkillers. A friend may ask you why your loved one asked for personal pain medication while visiting. Because people don’t think twice about sharing their unused medications, obtaining additional pills in this way is common.
- Stealing prescription pads. A doctor’s prescription pad stashed with your loved one’s belongings means there’s a good chance she or he has a problem. They may have stolen it to write prescriptions with a forged signature.
How a Pain Pill Addiction Affects Others
Maybe you’re the one caught up in the addiction. Or you’re living with someone whose behavior has changed because of a substance abuse problem. No matter which side of the equation you’re on, the fact remains that the struggle doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Those closest to the person struggling with the substance bear the brunt of the negative fallout.
- A drug becomes the focal point of daily life. Rather than focusing on a parent-child relationship or romantic involvement, you hone in on the drug. You worry about when can you get it, how you will get it, and when you can take it.
- Mood swings. Between the highs and lows, there are ebbing processes. You feel drowsy, anxious, depressed, and may have mood swings. If someone’s told you that you’re not the same person consistently, that’s a sign.
- Lies and broken promises. Someone struggling with addiction vows to change. She or he probably even means it at the time. But they also break promises and lie about using.
How to Get over a Pain Pill Addiction
Whether you or your loved one is struggling with a painkiller abuse disorder, know that there’s help. A program as convenient as intensive outpatient treatment and addiction counseling can turn your life around. Find out more today by dialing 866-488.8684 and connecting with compassionate addiction specialists at Steps to Recovery!