When taken as directed, painkillers can be incredibly helpful in easing physical aches after surgery or injury. If someone decides to misuse painkillers, however, they may develop an addiction. Painkiller addiction can be debilitating and lead many people to a number of life altering problems or even death. Understanding how and why someone develops an addiction to painkillers can help you or a loved one prevent addiction and allow you to understand why professional help is needed for full recovery.

What Causes A Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller addiction has him in it's clutches

Many painkillers, like hydrocodone and morphine, are opiate based drugs. Opiates are designed to attach to opioid receptors and block the perception of pain. There are opioid receptors in several organs throughout the body along with the entire central nervous system.

In some cases, people using painkillers will experience a high because opiates can tap into the reward system that’s hardwired into the brain. Some people will try to chase that high in order to maintain a state of euphoria. Over time, the brain becomes used to the opiate intake and attempts to correct that euphoric state. When that tolerance is developed, abusing painkillers will be necessary in order to keep that high going.

Prolonged painkiller abuse will first cause the user to become physically dependent on the drug. This means that anytime they stop their drug use, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Continuing drug use after that can turn drug abuse into painkiller addiction. People who have an addiction will be willing to do or say anything in order to get the drugs they feel like they need, regardless of the ramifications of their actions.

The Signs Of Painkiller Addiction

Once someone has developed a painkiller addiction, it’s hard for them to hide any symptoms. There are two different ways to recognize drug abuse and addiction symptoms. The first is through life and behavioral changes, which can include:

  • Issues At School Or Work
  • Degrading Physical Health
  • Altered Appearance
  • Mood And Behavioral Swings
  • Stealing Or Asking For Money
  • Engaging In Risky Behavior

The second way to notice a painkiller addiction is to recognize the signs of painkiller dependence. In order to appear normal, it’s likely that your loved one will take painkillers right before they see you. If you see any of the following signs, it’s likely that they’ve formed a painkiller dependence or addiction:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Constricted Pupils
  • Inattentiveness
  • Coordination Issues
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Sweaty Skin
  • Constipation

If the painkillers are snorted or injected, you’re likely going to notice other physical signs of painkiller use and abuse. When snorted, you’ll likely notice that your loved one has a running nose or sores. If the drugs are injected, there’s going to be needle marks at the injection sites.

How To Help Someone With A Painkiller Addiction

Recovering from a painkiller addiction is an incredibly difficult process. With the right help, it’s possible to move away from the addiction and transition into a sober life. At Healing Springs Ranch, we want to get to the root of addiction problems. We provide our patients with a caring environment where they’re able to face the traumas that led to their addiction and learn how to properly cope with them.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is help for you. Call Healing Springs Ranch at 866-656-8384 for information on addictions we treat and start living a new life without addiction.