Pain pill addiction results in the user being at the mercy of the drug. You may find yourself lying to your loved ones about money, or why you’re so tired all the time, or why you don’t “seem like yourself,” why you can’t keep your eyes open.

Are you “Doctor Shopping”? This means you continually find new sources because doctors never give you the amount you need. Or, do you go from the emergency room to the emergency room or to clinics to maintain your pain pill supply? Have you spent HUGE amounts of money ordering online from unreliable sources? Do you become really nervous if you don’t have enough painkillers to see you through the day? Do your skin’s crawl and you act grouchy and snap at your friends and loved ones if you run out of pain pills? Recognize any of these symptoms? Can you relate? If so, then you are suffering from pain pill addiction.

Pain pills operate along with a number of different nervous pathways, so it’s not always useful to think of them as anyone specific drug. What’s important to remember, however, is that many people switch from one to another throughout their lives, giving the lie to our common cultural misconception that the specific drug is responsible for their pain pill addiction. In fact, if you’ve had trouble quitting pain pills in the past, there is something more fundamental going on with your behavior.

The doctor’s medications work initially, but over time two things happen. They tend to lose their effectiveness and when a person stops taking them they feel very sick. Both of these are signs of pain pill addiction and are referred to as tolerance and withdrawal.

The medications that people take for pain relief have effects on how the person feels that goes beyond their help with the pain. People feel a sense of warmth and pleasure from the medication and often use pain pills to temporarily relieve anxiety, tenseness, insomnia, or even fatigue. When the medications are stopped on the other hand the person has a “rebound” of these symptoms and feels much worse than before starting the medication.

In other cases, instead of starting with an injury, it starts with experimentation. A person is given the pills by a friend or finds them in a parent’s medicine cabinet. Then they may make up an injury so that the doctor will prescribe more. In all of these cases, the people involved become more and more depressed and more and more sick and tired because of their pain pill addiction.
Pain Management Traps that Lead to Pain Pill Addiction

The underlying problem with painkillers:

  1. Besides the drug, pain management specialists often indiscriminately prescribe painkillers. Focused on eliminating pain, physicians can overlook the long-term consequences of dependency.
  2. The research behind prescription addiction:
    • Two million Americans use prescription opioid painkillers every year
    • In some communities, rates of prescription painkiller abuse have overtaken that of cocaine and marijuana
    • About 9% of the U.S. population has used pain relievers illegally in their lifetime (according to the 2002 NHSDA–National Household Survey on Drug Abuse)
    • Misuse has increased since the 1980s, to 500,000 new users per year
    • An estimated 1.6 million Americans used prescription-type pain relievers non-medically for the first time in 1998
    • Among youths age 12-17, the incidence rate increased from 6.3 to 32.4 per 1,000 new users from 1990 to 1998
    • Young adults age 18-25 increased in first use from 7.7 to 20.3 per 1,000 new users between 1990 and 1998

If you or your loved one is suffering from a pain pill addiction, help is available. Quality drug rehab programs distinguish themselves by the quality of care they offer. Many include numerous hours of addiction counseling for substance abuse in the field and these days you can even find programs that place a strong emphasis on holistic healing techniques like meditation, nutrition, and exercise. Taken together, eclectic methods like these can have a profound effect on your sense of hope for the future. Please contact us and speak with one of our trained addiction recovery counselors. They will be able to answer your questions and guide you down the road to pain pill addiction recovery.