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Painkiller Addiction Treatment

Opiate Analgesic Abuse

When we refer to painkiller addiction we are almost always talking about a class of drugs known as opiate analgesics. Derived from the active ingredient in the opium poppy, opiate analgesics have long been the most effective drugs the world uses to stop pain. When used as directed, they work wonderfully well for most of us but are also easily abused because of their euphoric side effects.

Getting Addicted to Painkillers

The downside of using comes with a price – individuals who continue to use opiate painkillers for an extended period of time will inevitably experience some level of physical dependence. Over time, the brain’s chemistry adjusts to the drug and eventually cannot stop the pain without them. This is the phenomenon of physical dependence or addiction. These people soon realize that without these drugs, they cannot function, they feel sick, they are miserable. Soon their whole lives are taken over and many have no idea what to do or how to stop. If you, your family member, or someone you know needs help stopping the cycle of addiction to painkillers there is hope. What kind of drugs are we talking about?

Some of the most commonly abused painkillers are:

  • Oxycontin- Highly potent, highly addictive controlled release Oxycodone. One of the most addictive and commonly abused painkillers that is often seen in pills of varying colors and size depending on the dosage.
  • Vicodin- Hydrocodone is often seen in pill form or as a cough syrup. One of the most commonly prescribed painkillers and one of the most abused.
  • Percocet- Another potent form of Oxycodone, although it has a high potency and potential for abuse.
  • Codeine– A milder opiate painkiller that is very commonly prescribed for low to mild pain or as a cough syrup. Often referred to as Tylenol 1, 2, or 3.

Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment Options

Today there are quite a few treatment options for painkiller addiction. Inpatient rehabilitation centers for alcohol and addiction are all over the country. Because of the severity of physical withdrawal from opiates many people need medical detoxification just to begin the process of quitting. Inpatient treatment offers the addict a chance to identify the underlying causes of their addiction and to participate in therapy programs that can help them stay sober once they leave. In addition to group and private counseling, many treatment centers introduce patients to 12 step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs offer the addict ongoing support and an opportunity to begin rebuilding their lives in a healthy way without the use of painkillers, alcohol, or other drugs. Outpatient treatment and aftercare programs are also available to help people cope with sobriety and to give them the tools they need to remain that way.

Recovering from Drug Dependency

No one becomes addicted to painkillers over night. Likewise, recovery from addiction is an ongoing process that can take years and does not begin just because you’ve stopped using. While no one picks up a bottle of painkillers with the sole purpose of becoming addicted, it still happens. Millions of Americans suffer from this debilitating condition on a daily basis, often with no hope or way to stop. Luckily we are not alone; recovery happens and just as the body heals from an injury so can our lives, one day at a time.


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