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Your prescription painkiller may become a dangerous addiction

Most of us are prescribed powerful painkillers at some point in our lives by a doctor. It is because of their analgesic (painkilling) properties that we first come into contact with and use opiates.

An opiate is a narcotic anaesthetic that directly affects and depresses your central nervous system. Opiates are extremely addictive substances.

The natural form of an opiate derives from the dried "milk" of the opium poppy, whereas synthetic opiates with a similar chemical structure are created in chemical laboratories.

Even though there are both natural and synthetic forms of opiates, they are collectively known as opioids. Heroin is also an opioid narcotic.

Commonly abused opiate painkillers

After alcohol and marijuana, prescription painkillers are the most commonly abused substances.

The most commonly prescribed abused opiate narcotics are drugs such as Morphine, Codeine, Oxycodone (OxyContin), Propoxyphene (Darvon), hydrocodone (Vicodin), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and Meperidine (Demerol).

Morphine is generally used before or after surgery in order to alleviate an individual’s severe pain, Codeine and Diphenoxylate (Lomotil) are used to ease milder pain, relieve coughs and relieve diarrhoea.

OxyContin is prescribed for chronic long-lasting pain. It is a semi-synthetic opioid anaesthetic, which contains between 10 and 160 milligrams of oxycodone.

It comes in the form of a timed-release tablet, which is designed to provide its user with several hours of relief from chronic pain. OxyContin abusers tend to crush the tablet and either ingest or snort it, you can also dissolve it in water and inject it.

By crushing or diluting the tablet the abuser deactivates the time-release action of the medication which causes a quick, extremely powerful high.

Individuals become addicted to Opioids due to the affects they have on their opioid receptors, they prevent the transmission of pain messages to the brain and induce a feeling of euphoria by affecting the brain regions that facilitate pleasure.

The high achieved from taking an opiate generally leave the individual feeling content, warm and sometimes drowsy. It also relieves stress and discomfort by creating a peaceful detachment from any pain, needs, and required activities.

It is not difficult to see how addicts would prefer this high rather than dealing with life without it.

Withdrawal symptoms

Individuals attempting Opiate recovery and experiencing withdrawal may undergo moments of extreme discomfort. It is this discomfort that drives some addicts to theft and other forms of crime so that they can afford the drug.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms include low energy and yawning, feelings of irritability, anxiety and agitation, restlessness and insomnia, hot and cold sweats and goose bumps, muscle ache and pains, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Here are some quick and easy questions to test an Opiate addiction. 

  1. Has your use of opiates increased over time?
  2. Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using?
  3. Do you use more than you would like, or more than is prescribed?
  4. Have you experienced negative consequences to your using?
  5. Have you put off doing things because of your drug use?
  6. Do you find yourself thinking obsessively about getting or using your drug?
  7. Have you made unsuccessful attempts at cutting down your drug use?

If you answered yes to at least three of those questions, then you are probably addicted to some form of opiate narcotic.

Recovery from painkiller addiction

Recovery from an opiate narcotic addiction is very difficult and it is for this reason that professional medical treatment is recommended to assist withdrawal, while professional therapeutic intervention and strong aftercare support gives the best chance of addiction recovery and long term rehabilitation success.

At Step Away Treatment Centre our professionals provide holistic support to treat all aspects of opiate addiction.

Recovery from an Opiate addiction begins when you ask for help and by establishing a strong support system.

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