The number of people becoming addiction to, and dying from, prescription pain pills has been on the rise. Below we’ll take a look at what exactly prescription pain pills are, as well the consequences that abusing them can have on your health.
What Are They?
Pain relief pills fall under the classification of “opioids.” These drugs work by inhibiting or reducing the pain signals sent to your brain. With continued use the body builds up a slight tolerance to the drugs, letting more of the signal though. It is because of this increasing tolerance that people with chronic symptoms will often have the dosage of their prescription increased. Unlike normal over-the-counter pain medications, opioids are used to treat severe and chronic pain and must be prescribed by your doctor. Opioids come in a wide range of products, the most common being Vicodin, OxyContin, and Codeine, and use of them without a prescription is illegal.
One of the more severe effects opioids have on the body is depressed breathing. When the brain is starved for oxygen it becomes susceptible to a condition known as hypoxia. In said condition the brain can develop short-lived and long-lasting changes to a person’s normal brain functions and their personality.
Other symptoms of opioid use are confusion, nausea, constipation, and sleepiness. It’s due to these effects that people under the influence of opioids are warned against operating motorized vehicles, heavy machinery, or any other situations where you might become a risk to yourself or others.
Do You Need Treatment?
When seeking treatment for help with opioids, it’s important to note the difference between dependence and an addiction. First, the regions dictating dependence and addiction are located in separate parts of the brain. Patients prescribed opioids for chronic and long-lasting pain will often develop a physical tolerance and require a high dosage, and while a patient who might be dependent on an opioid for pain relief may experience a slight “high” or good feeling, those effects are permanent and don’t lead to obsessive usage.
Although dependence is not a sign of addiction, addiction to opioids rarely comes without it. If you notice yourself chasing a “high” or unable to control your usage, then you need to seek out professional assistance. Medications exists to help ween off those addicted to opioids so that withdrawal symptoms are avoided or greatly diminished.
South Coast Counseling exists to help those struggling with addiction, contact us today to speak with a recovery specialist and get you or your loved one the help they need. For those simply looking for information, please be sure to check out all the various programs we offer.