Prescription Pain Medication
Opiates—also known as narcotics and painkillers—are medications prescribed by doctors to treat acute, chronic, and otherwise unmanageable pain. Most opiate addictions start legitimately: with a prescription, written by a trusted doctor, for real pain and suffering. Unfortunately, opiates are quickly habit-forming and can leave your body craving more even after the pain or problem has resolved.
Common examples of these medications include Hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Morphine, Methadone, and Fentanyl.
Here are some of the signs you may be struggling with prescription pain medication abuse:
- Regular or daily use
- Taking more pills than prescribed
- Feeling flu-like symptoms when you stop taking opioids or lower your normal amount
- Getting multiple opiate medications from different prescribers at the same time
- Planning your day around getting “enough” driven by fear of running out
- Using more over time, or more often than prescribed
- Weight loss
- Frequent constipation
- Rapid mood changes
- Not bathing, changing clothes, or brushing teeth regularly
- Ingesting pills in non-prescribed ways (e.g. smoking, snorting, mixing with water and injecting)
- Obtaining pills outside of a doctor or prescription (from friends, drug dealers, online, etc.)
Behavioral Effects of Prescription Pain Medication Use
Abusing opioid medications can affect the ways you act and feel dramatically. It’s normal in opiate abuse to feel your moods swinging from one extreme to another, to become irritable and short-tempered when physically withdrawing, and to make decisions that don’t really line up with who you are as a person.
Spending too much money (or money you don’t have), getting arrested, and pulling away from friends and family are some of the most frequent unintended consequences of opiate abuse. Deeper into the addiction process, things like stealing from loved ones, neglecting important relationships, and endangering yourself and others (for example, driving while high or abusing opiates while pregnant) can change from things you never dreamed you’d be capable of to your new normal.
Physical Behavioral Effects of Prescription Pain Medication Use
Opiates depress your central nervous system. You can feel calmer, more relaxed, or euphoric when under their influence. It’s easy to understand why they are so addictive.
The body adapts quickly to the presence of opiates and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced or stopped. These include restlessness, muscle/bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, skin crawling, and hot or cold flashes with goose bumps. Slowed breathing and dizziness may also occur. Severe overuse can also lead to overdose and death. Feeling enslaved to a substance is a miserable experience that can make you feel like a prisoner in your life. But breaking the addiction cycle is possible – with support.
We at HCBTS are available 24/7 to take your call and are committed to helping you get the help you need when you need it.
Read more about the levels of care we offer on our substance abuse treatment page.
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