By now, most people are aware of the growing prescription painkiller problem that has been hitting the country so hard. Opiate painkillers are responsible for thousands of deaths every year, and their abuse and addiction rates have skyrocketed.
While opiate painkillers have been around a long time and have always had the potential for abuse, they have become particularly troublesome in the past decade. Why is this, and what can be done about it?
Commonly prescribed opiate painkillers include the following:
Prescription opiates are typically prescribed for chronic pain, pain associated with surgical procedures and pain related to dental issues.
Opiate pain medication is an effective tool for pain management when used as prescribed. It works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain that block pain signals.
The downside to pain medication is that it is highly addictive. Tolerance builds quickly, even when the medication is taken as directed. Tolerance means that it starts to take more of the drug to get the same effect. When tolerance happens, you have become physically dependent on the medication and will experience withdrawal symptoms if you quit suddenly.
There is a difference between opiate dependence and opiate addiction. Because you can become dependent on opiates even if you are not abusing them, being dependent does not necessarily mean that you are addicted to them. Addiction is more complex, and not only involves physical dependence but psychological dependence, as well.
This combination of psychological and physical dependence makes opiate addiction particularly difficult to beat. For some people, there comes a point when an invisible line is crossed from using a drug either as prescribed or recreationally, to becoming addicted and not being able to stop. It is quite common for people to not be consciously aware that this line has been crossed.
The fact that opiate painkillers are prescribed by a doctor, often quite freely and casually, makes denial about addiction a common problem. People may justify use because they are getting it legally, from a pharmacy. Because it is not a street drug, like heroin, they don’t believe they have a problem. The reality is that prescription painkillers are every bit as addictive and dangerous as heroin, and because of recent restrictions on opiate prescriptions and newer, abuse-resistant pain pills, many prescription opiate users are resorting to heroin to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal.
Opiate addiction is nothing to play with. It is serious, and the consequences of opiate abuse can be permanent. The sooner the addicted person gets help, the better. It is never too early to intervene. The progressive nature of addiction means that problems will only continue to get worse. Here are some signs to look out for. In the early stages, a person may be able to hide opiate abuse, but as time goes by, it will become more difficult.
If you are noticing the signs of addiction in a loved one, an intervention may be necessary. It is common for a person in the midst of addiction to deny there is a problem, to hide the problem and to be unaware of how their addiction is affecting friends, spouses and family. An intervention is a powerful tool that can not only help the addict get help, but the family finds peace of mind.
Addiction is a family disease, and an opiate addiction interventionist can help family members understand addiction, learn how to take care of themselves and learn how to best support their loved one.
Our intervention support begins the moment you pick up the phone and contact us. We offer support throughout the process, from beginning to end. We take the time to get to know your family and your situation. We understand that each family is different and has their own unique story and needs.
Our interventionist comes to you, and we work closely with you during the planning process to make sure that you feel comfortable and safe. Intervention services last throughout the time of the first contact and after your loved one goes to treatment, creating a continuum of care.
If you are concerned that a loved one is struggling with opiate painkiller addiction, contact Intervention Services, Inc. to speak to someone. You don’t have to go through this alone, and you don’t have to wait for things to get worse before getting help. Call 1-877-478-4621 today to get started.