How Serious Are The Long Term Side Effects Of Painkillers?
The long term side effects of painkillers are still being discovered. In the last few years, researchers have found a link between the chronic use of opioid analgesics and the risk of developing major depression. The determination was made following an analysis of 50,000 veteran’s who had no previous opioid use or depression noted in their medical histories.
Long Term Side Effects Of Painkillers
The risk of major depression is not the only long term danger associated with prescription painkillers. Opioid painkillers are highly addictive, and long term use can lead to detrimental effects to the brain and alter some normal body functions. Some of the long term side effects of painkillers include the following:
- Depression – Users of prescription painkillers for 180 days or longer have higher than a fifty-percent chance of suffering from serious depression. Since addiction can cause depression, and depression can lead to addiction, there must be both medical and psychiatric treatment administered simultaneously. This is referred to as a co-occurring disorder.
- Neurotransmitter Disruption – The reward and pleasure feelings we experience are controlled by opioid receptors in the brain. Prescription painkillers bind to the receptors and alter how the brain perceives pain. This results in a sedation and euphoric experience. Over time the brain relies on the painkillers to do the job normally handled by hormones and other body chemicals.
- Cognition Impairment – Another of the long term side effects of painkillers is the destruction of brain cells associated with cognition, learning, and memory due to the reduction of blood flow to the brain. Some studies indicate there is also an increase in the risk of developing dementia with long term use.
- Physical Dependency and Addiction – People taking painkillers can quickly develop a tolerance and need a larger dose to continue feeling the effects. Tolerance quickly becomes physical dependence as more frequent and increased doses of the drug occurs. Once physical dependence takes hold, the individual will experience unpleasant side effects if they don’t take the painkiller. Addiction follows physical dependence as the user finds they need the drug every day in order to avoid serious cravings and miserable side effects. Physical and mental health, careers, finances, family relationships, and legal problems are all impacted by addiction to painkillers.
Long Term Effects Of Prescription Painkiller Abuse
When you consider that millions of Americans take prescription painkillers every day, it’s easy to understand how the long term effects of prescription painkiller abuse affects the health of the nation. Long term use frequently leads to overdose and death. Many people are unaware of a study conducted by the Journal of General Internal Medicine which revealed, “a group of powerful prescription medications known as opioids can increase the risk of bone fractures in adults over the age of 60, especially when taken doses higher than 50 milligrams.” An American Heart Association study linked the use of prescription painkillers to a fifty-percent increase in the development of high blood pressure in women. Other long term effects include:
- Liver Disease and/or failure
- Kidney disease and/or failure
- Diminished immune system
- Cardiovascular problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Respiratory failure
- Impaired mental ability
- Overdose death
If you or someone you know is suffering from painkiller tolerance, dependence or addiction, today is the day to get help. WhiteSands Treatment Centers in Tampa and Ft. Myers FL have helped thousands overcome the addiction to prescription painkillers. They have state-of-the-art facilities, board certified doctors and psychiatrists, a resort atmosphere and appearance, and a highly skilled and compassionate staff. Call WhiteSands at (877) 855-3470 today, and get the help you need.
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.