Prescription painkiller addiction and treatment: Learn how a detox at a rehab center can help
If you are one of the many people who need treatment for addiction to painkillers, there is help available. Many people are prescribed painkillers to mask the pain they suffer in their body. Painkillers do not cure the pain, but instead dull the body’s perception of the pain. Eventually people can build up a tolerance to the medication causing it to become ineffective, and the perception of pain will return. To stop this from happening, most people on painkillers will up their dosage to stop feeling the pain. Many people become addicted to painkillers whether they abuse them or not. Prescription painkiller addiction and treatment to overcome the addiction, can be found through your physician or at a drug rehab center.
Some of the popular prescription painkillers that most people are familiar with are OxyContin, Fentanyl, Xanax and Vicodin. Many people who suffer pain and are prescribed these types of painkillers have no idea how potent these drugs are and that they have a high addiction rate. Physicians have been liberally prescribing painkillers, and abuse and addiction to these drugs is escalating in the U.S. Awareness to the dangers of taking painkillers must continue to be promoted to help prevent more people from becoming addicted.
Opiates are pain medications that bind to the opioid receptors in the brain and body and cause feelings of euphoria and well-being, plus they block the perception of pain. As the brain is constantly being flooded with opiates, neurotransmissions become dull and neuronal chemistry is altered which affects the central nervous system. The opioid receptors regulate automatic processes in the body such as respiration and blood pressure. When brain chemistry is severely altered, or there is an instance of an overdose of opiates, vital life functions may begin to shut down resulting in brain damage, coma or death. Addicts of prescription painkillers may experience adverse opioid effects such as:
- Mood swings
- Drug cravings
- Risk for heart attack
- Respiratory depression
- Cardiovascular complications
- Suicidal thoughts
Addicts can receive successful opiate addiction treatment at a certified rehab facility. The first phase of treatment for addiction to painkillers is the detox process, where the patient will slowly be weaned off of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms will vary among patients depending on the severity of the addiction. The withdrawal phase of opiate addiction treatment can be difficult, and patients may have some fears, but the medical team at the rehab facility is experienced and knowledgeable in all phases of addiction and rehabilitation. They will keep the patient stable and as comfortable as possible through the use of medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms usually begin about 12 hours after the last pain-pill is taken, and can last from one week to months depending on how severe the addiction is.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms that a patient may experience are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Stomach cramps
- Crying jags
Treatment for addiction to painkillers also includes individual and group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, relapse prevention techniques and more. Many people who struggle with opiate addiction are also struggling with a mental disorder such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, alcoholism or another drug problem. If this is the case, the opiate addiction treatment will be integrated with treatment for the co-occurring disorder.
Relapse can occur even after the patient has received pain pill addiction treatment. That is why it is important for the recovering addict to commit to completing the full recovery program at the rehab center. He will learn about addiction, his own thoughts and behavior, and ways to avoid and prevent relapse. Relapse prevention therapy helps the patient confront past issues of trauma, neglect, abuse, abandonment and enmeshment. Facing past issues can be painful and exhausting, and the patient will need time to grieve and accept his personal losses. He will also have to take a good look at his thought patterns and behavior, and begin to change thoughts that are destructive into positive, healthy ones. Relationship patterns may also be examined and changed. The patient may also learn how to identify and change feelings of shame, guilt, remorse, unworthiness, inferiority and co-dependency.
There is much that the recovering addict will learn about him self and others, and how to change his ways for the better. He will be prepared and equipped to manage all toxic and tempting situations and people. The patient’s opiate addiction treatment will also teach him how to focus on his goals and work toward rebuilding a new and better life for him self.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.