Tag Archives: painkillers

What You Should Know About Pain Pill Addiction- It Is Not Uncommon as You May Think

Pain pills or painkillers refer to a wide variety of drugs; however, the ones that are highly abused are opioids, sedatives, and stimulants. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, xanax, valium, and dexedrine are among the highly abused prescription pills. The effectiveness of these drugs makes them addictive. These pain pills work on the opioid receptors of your brain to numb pain and create an addictive high.

One of the tell-tale signs that you have a pain pill addiction is when your mind is focused on when you will take your next dose and whether your supply is sufficient. Pre-occupation with your pain medication may later cause you to exceed the doctor’s recommended dose. Eventually, you begin going to more than one doctor for the same subscription or going to other sources to replenish your medication supply. Afterwards, you will realize that your pain, the reason you were on the prescription pills, subsided a long time ago but you are still on pain meds. Before you know it, you are having problems with your personal relationships and your daily routine activities.

 

How Pain Pill Addiction Can Affect Your Body

Pain killer abuse is likely to affect different parts of your body. Opiates suppress your body’s capacity to breathe and interrupt the normal functioning of your lungs. Medical research has determined that opiate abuse is likely to cause pneumonia.

Pain pill addiction is also associated with constipation. Abusing pain killers will mean that one may need to use laxatives to facilitate bowel movement and this is likely to damage the sphincter or anus.

Prescription drug abuse can also affect your liver. Every drug you take is broken down and processed by your liver. Therefore, the liver can store toxins after the breakdown process. The most notable cause of liver damage is acetaminophen, a component in many prescription formulas. Drugs such as Lortab, Vicodin, and Percocet have high levels of acetaminophen.

Another devastating effect of addiction to prescription pills is rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure. Rhabdomyolysis occurs when a person lies completely immobilized after abusing pain killers to the point of becoming comatose. The addict’s tissues start to disintegrate and the chemicals produced during this breakdown pour into their blood stream and begin damaging other organs. This is one of the main causes of kidney failure. Damage of the heart may also occur, including heart attack.

Many people manage chronic pain using prescription medication. A high percentage of these people unknowingly slide into pain pill addiction. If you experience any of the above tell-tale signs of addiction to prescription medication, you need to consult a doctor before your problem becomes a tragedy. If you are ready to put your addiction problem behind you, call Genesis House at 800-737-0933 and trust us to get your life back on track.

3 Easy Questions To Remember When Your Doctor Prescribes You Pain Pills

Pain is part of life. Everyone will experience pain at some point, whether it’s minor or more severe. You may take a nasty spill, or perhaps you need surgery, or else, you’re injured in a car accident. Anyone could find themselves needing the assistance of prescription pain medications to control their pain until the body heals. Pain causes stress and isn’t conducive to the healing process. If you need short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain, your doctor will likely prescribe some type of narcotic medication to ease your pain.

More About Narcotic Therapy

Narcotics are prescribed for pain because they are very effective. However, they also carry the potential for addiction. Everyone has different brain chemistry and therefore will respond to narcotic pain medications differently. Some are even genetically pre-disposed to addiction and don’t discover this until after they have taken a narcotic and become addicted to it. However, this is very rare. If you have a painful condition and your doctor thinks that narcotics are warranted, you should listen. If you’ve actually had an addiction problem before, even with a different substance, such as alcohol, you should let your doctor know. He or she will decide from there the best course of action for you.

Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Be proactive in your medical care. Ask questions! It’s your right. Let your doctor know your concerns. It is his or her job to listen to you and take your concerns into consideration during your care. Keep these three questions in mind when your doctor thinks you need narcotic medication:

  • What are some possible side effects?

Be sure you understand the major possible side effects. Take your pain medication EXACTLY as prescribed on the bottle. If your doctor is unavailable for future questions, don’t hesitate to call the pharmacy and ask to speak with a pharmacist.

  • Is there an alternative?

Depending upon your pain level, it’s possible that a much weaker pain medication would work for you. There are also non-narcotic pain medicines, such as those similar to ibuprofen, that may work for some people. Keep in mind, though, that this class of drugs isn’t likely to control severe pain.

  • What about the risk of addiction?

Overall, this risk is low, but it does exist. Most of the time, the pain-relieving benefits of narcotics far outweigh any risk of possible addiction. Your doctor will probably tell you this. Still, if it’s a concern for you, say so.

We are always willing to help in any way we can. Call us at (800)737-0933

Is My Doctor Responsible For My Opiate Addiction?

The US has the highest prescription of opioid drugs in the world. According to the Center for Disease Control, one out of 5 patients with non-cancer pain gets opioids prescription. The drug is a pain reliever, rehabilitation medication and used during surgery.

Aggressive Prescription Without Educating Patients

The Opioids craze began in the 1990s when pharmaceuticals marketed the drugs and aggressively highlighted the advantages but made no mention of the risks; ever since opioids have become a necessity in pain treatment. Doctors often prioritize patients’ recovery and may overlook any aftermath. Equally, doctors can identify an opiate addict just by observation.

Physicians’ contribution to the opiate addiction menace that has claimed many lives is subject to debates. Most proponents of opioids argue that there is no other alternative for pain treatment.

Nevertheless, the overarching issue is where to draw the line with opioid prescriptions. The federal and state government have tried to regulate the prescription of opioids. The state of Massachusetts adopted the law that limits the drugs prescription to a seven-day supply. Also, before prescribing the drugs practitioners have to check a database to ensure that it is not a repeat prescription. The physicians must screen the patient for addiction.

The Addiction Phase

The body naturally produces opioids that can heal normal pain. Prescription opioids, on the other hand, are more efficient in dealing with major pain. Unlike the natural neurotransmitters, prescribed opioids produce dopamine that regulates cognition, motivation, feeling of pleasure, movement, and emotion. It then overstimulates the system and trains your body to rely on opioids to function normally. In an attempt to imitate normal brain chemicals, the drugs generate abnormal messages in the brain. The drugs block pain receptors. When you stop using the drug, even a minor ache can feel extremely painful.

Dependency on opioids to function leads to addiction. As you continue to use the drugs, body functioning slows. Your body begins to react to prolonged use and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Some of the signs of withdrawal include;

  • Anxiety; – the hippocampus, the section of the brain that controls emotions overrides causing anxiety
  • Sweating; – hypothalamus can no longer properly regulate the body temperature hence you will sweat nonstop regardless of the body temperature
  • Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea; – the body tries to remove wastes through diarrhea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heartbeat rates

The choice to permanently deal with the opioid problem is entirely personal. Addiction is a choice and is treatable. You can reach out to the Genesis through 800-737-0933 to begin treatment in a serene environment that offers personalized quality care.

I Have Chronic Pain and Need Painkillers To Help Ease The Pain. How Do I Keep From Becoming Addicted?

The use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain is very controversial. Possible addiction is one of the main reasons for this. Is the relief of chronic pain worth the potential for addiction? The consensus is yes. The fact is, most patients treated for chronic pain by a health professional qualified to do so will not become addicted to their opioid medications.

Addiction is Not the Same as Dependence

Anyone who takes opioid medication for any length of time, say, more than a few weeks, will become physically dependent upon their medication. This is a consequence of the actions of opioids on the body. They cause physical changes to take place in the brain which result in a physical dependence. This is not the same as addiction, which is generally defined as compulsive, uncontrollable use of a substance even when the negative consequences are obvious. Addicted patients often increase their use of medication without their physician’s knowledge or approval, which only makes their addiction even worse. They hide their drug use from friends, family, and employers. They become devious.

In contrast, those taking opioids as directed by their physicians rarely experience addiction. They are simply taking a drug, under medical supervision, that they need to control their chronic pain. There is no emotional dependence on the drug, no compulsion to use it beyond what is needed for pain control, and the patient remains in full compliance, taking the drug only as directed.

  • An addicted patient will often run out of medication early
  • An addicted patient will show signs of drug-seeking behavior, such as repeated requests for more pills and escalating doses when such is not medically indicated
  • Those addicted are likely to withdraw from friends and family as the drug takes over more and more of their lives

In contrast, a patient who is merely physically dependent, which is not their fault anyway, continues to live their lives normally. Their basic behavior doesn’t change and they feel no compulsion to take more and more medication. They just enjoy the relief and quality of life provided by responsible use of opioid medications.

For most people, the risk of true addiction to prescription opioids is low. In fact, the negative effects and stress of living in constant, untreated pain are more of a real concern than addiction.

Call us today 800-737-0933

Connection Between Opioids and Marijuana Use Among Teens

prescription painkillersResearchers may have found evidence that prescription painkiller use is linked to early marijuana use. This information comes at a time when multiple states are in the process of legalizing marijuana, or considering putting the issue on the ballot for a future election. And while no state is looking to make marijuana legal for adolescents, it would seem that legalizing marijuana would make it easier for teenagers to obtain the drug, as has been demonstrated in the rising numbers in Colorado.

In a recent survey, 11,000 children and teenagers were asked a series of questions related to their drug and alcohol use. Included in these questions was whether they had used prescription opioids in the past 30 days and if they had ever used marijuana. After the data was collected, it was discovered that out of 11,000 participants, 524 had used prescription painkiller in the last month. Of those 524 children and teenagers, 80% had also used marijuana.

While this certainly does not mean that if you use marijuana you will definitely use painkillers, it does a show a link when it comes to drug experimentation (i.e. gateway drugs) and poly-drug use. There was also a correlation with alcohol and tobacco use, indicating that these substances that are becoming increasingly available to young people are contributing to further drug use.

On a policy level, our nation is continuing to send mixed messages to America’s youth. For a long time marijuana and cocaine were major focuses of prevention efforts, yet prescription drug and synthetic drug use has surged. Now we’re working to keep kids away from prescription drug abuse but telling them that smoking weed is okay when you’re old enough.

All of this seems to be missing the point of teaching kids and adults how to live without seeking out drugs for external stimulation. Without it, the patterns will continue to repeat, even though the types of drugs may change over time.

The Start of the Painkiller Epidemic?

OxyContinA recent investigation published by STAT news found what appears to be evidence of the beginning of the prescription opioid epidemic, and how efforts to stop it were thwarted by the maker of OxyContin 15 years ago.

Officials from the West Virginia state employees health plan saw a rise in the number of deaths related to oxycodone, and requested to have OxyContin placed on a list of drugs that required pre-authorization. Instead, the drug’s maker, Purdue Pharma, apparently paid off the pharmacy benefits management company via “rebates” to keep it on the regular list of easily accessible drugs. This action, combined with the fact that the drug maker was hiding information about OxyContin being more addictive than other similar drugs, started one of the worst healthcare crises in the last century.

Since that time, the number of deaths tied to opiates, including painkillers and heroin, has skyrocketed to 28,000 lives lost in a single year.

Tom Susman, who headed West Virginia’s employee insurance agency back then, stated, “We were screaming at the wall. We saw it coming. Now to see the aftermath is the most frustrating thing I have ever seen.” Unfortunately, their efforts fell on deaf ears and were chewed up by a corrupt pharmaceutical business. Now West Virginia has the highest incidence rate for opioid fatalities.

Given this and so many other stories that have risen in recent years about the drug company’s involvement in the opioid epidemic, it seems like more should be done to help save lives today. The White House recently asked for over $1 billion in new spending to treat the opiate abuse crisis. Rather than passing that off onto Congress (who gets the money from all of us taxpayers), a much better resource for that funding should come from pharmaceutical giants who make billions off of these drugs, including the ravages left in their wake.

Some Doctors Hesitant to Prescribe Naloxone

narcanAs naloxone, a medication that reverses an opioid overdose, has gained more publicity, doctors are being urged to prescribe it as a preventive measure to patients who are also given narcotic painkillers. The thought behind this is that the risk for overdose is so great that even patients who do not abuse these drugs are at risk of this possibility.

However, some doctors rejected this idea. The fear was that their patients would be offended if given a prescription made popular by its use on heroin addicts. The survey, however, showed different results.

“Some providers have voiced concern that prescribing naloxone to patients could result in negative patient reactions. We found that this was rare. Even among the few with a negative initial reaction, all but one patient still wanted naloxone again in the future,” explained Dr. Phillip Coffin, a co-author on the study.

Doctors are placed in a difficult position. They are required to treat patients to the best of their ability, though there is still the human element of additional thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes doctors may agree with a decision like prescribing naloxone to painkiller user in theory, but they have to weigh that decision with the potential backlash of offended patients. And while the survey shows that patients are generally not offended, the question still looms for many of them.

This hesitation is even more important when one looks at the origins of the prescription painkiller problem today. When the epidemic was still in its infancy, most doctors were not educated enough on the potential for dependency and abuse, and nobody was prepared for the levels of addiction that ensued. By the time the full ramifications were realized as a nation, it was too late.

Since then, the medical community has increased its efforts to minimize the amount of harm caused by opioids. Doctors are now being required to enroll in more addiction education classes, limits are being placed on the number of pills that are given out in hospital emergency rooms, and prescription drug monitoring programs are being used more widely.

Officials Study Pain Treatment Alternatives to Reduce Opioid Addiction

alternatives for treating painWith much of the national focus in the substance abuse treatment and prevention field being on opiate addiction of late, researchers throughout the United States have been looking for alternatives to pain medication. This has lead to examination of treatments including magnets, electricity and non-narcotic medications.

A new study shows techniques like yoga, massage or meditation are so effective at handling chronic pain, that they could be an alternative to pain medication for many. This is important because the painkiller epidemic has continued to spread throughout the country thousands of people are losing their lives each year as a result of prescription opioid addiction.

Integrating a more holistic approach to managing pain is something that has gained more popularity over the years, and lately among medical doctors as well. The healthcare profession has come under scrutiny for the over-prescribing of narcotics, and now many are taking action to help reverse the trend, including a recent plea from the U.S. Surgeon General.

According to researchers, certain holistic methods are more effective than others. The studies show that patients who suffer from back problems are likely to benefit from yoga and acupuncture. Patients who report neck pain are likely to feel pain reduction if they receive massage therapy. Chronic migraine sufferers were also studied, it was discovered that these patients saw relief from the implementation of breathing and relaxing techniques.

“We don’t believe these approaches will be the entire answer, but may be used as an adjunct to help reduce the reliance on opioid medications and associated side effects. What we wanted to get from this review is to understand evidence-based approaches for pain management,” explained Richard Nahin, lead Epidemiologist at National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

The hope is that more research will be conducted to locate more effective ways to manage pain, while still providing effective care to patients. As too many people still become addicted to prescription painkillers, it is necessary to decrease the number of pills available to addicts and provide less harmful ways of addressing their symptoms. This research, combined with an increased focus on effective drug treatment strategies, will hopefully save future generations from succumbing to the prescription painkiller temptation.

Dangerous Combination of Opioids and Benzodiazepines Becoming More Common

journalsatA new study shows that more and more people who check themselves into treatment with an opioid addiction are also been abusing benzos. Benzodiazepines are sedative drugs that are usually prescribed to treat symptoms of anxiety, and brand names include Ativan, Klonopin, Valium and Xanax. These drugs are also among the most abused prescriptions on the street.

According to the data gathered by researchers out of Boston, forty percent of the study subjects admitted to dual benzodiazepine and opioid use or had both drugs in their system at the time of admittance. As part of the study, which was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the researchers polled users on the reasons for their benzodiazepine use. Many of the users stated that they took the anti-anxiety medication because of increased feelings of anxiety. Only a small amount of users stated it was to get high. This information points to a dangerous spiral that often accompanies opioid addiction.

Many people who are addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers feel intense amounts of anxiety. This can come up for a number of reasons. Some people feel anxiety due to the emotional toll of lying to their families, shirking their responsibilities, or spending large amounts of money. Other people feel anxiety because of the physical side effects from the opioids. Despite the reasons, many opioid addicts seek out benzodiazepines on the black market or from doctors, ignoring the dangers in mixing the drug with opioids. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines can increase a person’s chance of developing a more serious dependency as well as increase risk of adverse health effects such as seizures, organ failure and overdose.

“Prescribers continue to need education on the risks of combining opioids and benzodiazepines, but another important target audience is drug users themselves. Some opioid users may never cross paths with a health care provider in their pursuit of opioids and benzodiazepines, and therefore may be missing out on the diagnosis of psychiatric symptoms and alternative treatments for anxiety or depression,” commented Michael Stein, lead researcher on the study and chair of the Boston University School of Public Health.

Researchers are eager to spread this information to the public, in the hopes that it will reach those who deal with addiction on a more personal level. Family members who are aware that their loved one is mixing the two drugs may be inspired to help push for treatment. The addicts themselves are likely to be unaware of the dangers of taking benzodiazepines and opioids. Lastly, doctors must continue to be more vigilant in their prescribing habits to avoid setting up their patients for troubling situations.

Are More Controls on Prescription Painkillers Causing an Increase in Heroin Use?

prescription drugsAlthough everyone seems to agree that the prescription drug and heroin addiction problem in the United States have reached devastating levels, there are conflicting opinions still about what continues to fuel the problem as well as what are the best ways to fix it.

One way has been for lawmakers and other officials to put more restrictions on painkillers, as the explosion of these drugs on the market has a direct correlation to the rise in heroin use as well. However, some people claim that more restrictions on these drugs actually drive people to seek out heroin, and therefore don’t agree that more controls equal less people becoming addicted.

There is growing evidence, though, that indicates there is real progress being made by addressing the prescribing habits of doctors and limiting prescription drug fraud through monitoring programs.

Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) looked into the theory that more restrictions on prescription painkillers leads to more heroin addicts and they did not find sufficient information to support this belief. In fact, they found that deaths from heroin use were on the rise before the 2009-2011 era when many of the painkiller restrictions were put in. And, even though there are plenty of documented cases where people who were addicted to heroin first started with painkillers, there has been a major influx of cheaper, stronger heroin coming in from Mexico that has also greatly contributed.

Of course, legislative or policy changes alone will not have enough of an impact on the problem, though they can continue to help limit access to some of these drugs. The more effective routes are through implementation of better prevention programs for people of all ages and more treatment diversions so people can begin their recovery.

If you know someone who is addicted to prescription drugs, heroin, or any other kind of substance, contact us today to see how we can help.