Addicted to Narcotic Pain Meds

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narcotic pain meds

Pain Management Can Present a Real Challenge

Sometimes chronic pain requires the use of pain meds to help manage the condition. People have come to expect a prescription for pain pills, like Vicodin or Percocet, to assist them. The ongoing use of these drugs, though, can sometimes lead to a substance use disorder.

This class of drugs, called opioids, has a very powerful effect on the brain. They work via the central nervous system, blocking the sensations of pain from reaching the brain. It has become routine for a doctor to prescribe these meds for pain management.

These painkillers work well, as they can suppress the pain signals and improve a person’s quality of life. For some people, however, the drugs can lead to dependence or addiction. When you find yourself addicted to pain meds, you will need to access expert treatment to break free.

What are Narcotic Pain Meds?

Prescription pain meds mostly fall into the opioid class of drugs. These drugs provide fast relief for pain, such as acute or chronic pain caused by injury, surgery, or illness. They also cause euphoric, relaxed effects that are pleasurable. Because of these pleasant effects, the brain will record the experience in the reward center.

Opioids are synthetic analgesics that are based on the chemical structure of opium from the poppy plant. These drugs are designed to attach to the opioid receptors in the body and brain. This action blocks the perceived pain, and allows the person to function better.

Do You Suffer From Chronic Pain?

Some people may have chronic pain issues, so drugs like OxyContin are prescribed. Over time, using the drug day in and day out, the person will become dependent on it. The brain will conform to the daily dose of the drug by changing the neural pathways. When someone becomes dependent on narcotic pain meds and then stops taking them, they can become very sick.

Doctors walk a fine line when trying to help patients with chronic pain. In an attempt to relieve some of the pain symptoms, their patient will likely become dependent on the drug over time.

Chronic pain refers to having pain symptoms that last more than three months. In some, the way brain cells process and transmit nerve signals may cause people to be more sensitive to pain. Symptoms of chronic pain include:

  • Constant muscle aches.
  • Burning pain.
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Loss of stamina.

Signs of Pain Pill Addiction

Pain meds target the brain’s reward system, so there is a higher risk of misuse or addiction. A person can become addicted to narcotic pain meds in as short a time as two weeks. Here are the signs to look out for that would indicate a pain pill problem:

  • Feeling drowsy; nodding out.
  • Tiny pupils.
  • Skin rash
  • Slowed breathing rate.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Chronic constipation.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision.
  • Obsessed with getting the drug.
  • Doctor shopping.
  • Stealing pain pills from friends and family.
  • Increased tolerance.
  • Avoid social events.
  • Depression
  • Mood swings.
  • Anxiety
  • Mental confusion.
  • Fear
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the drug wears off.

Breaking Free from Pain Pills

To break the grip of opioid addiction you will engage in a multi-pronged treatment approach. Each of these steps, detox, treatment, and aftercare, are required if you are to overcome the pain pill addiction.

DETOX: Detox is the first step of recovery. It is never a good idea to attempt detox on your own. The withdrawal symptoms are quite uncomfortable and will send you right back to the drug. To succeed at detox you will need support. Opioid withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Muscle cramping.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Sleep problems.

A team of trained detox experts will closely observe the symptoms throughout the process. As needed, they will provide medications to help ease the symptoms.

TREATMENT: After detox you will begin treatment, which involves many types of therapy and other activities. These assist you in making changes in the way you manage triggers and cravings, helping you to avoid relapse. You will learn new ways of thinking and acquire helpful coping skills. Family therapy is also part of the treatment phase of recovery.

AFTERCARE: Once the treatment program is completed, you will begin the aftercare phase. This involves certain actions that support recovery and help you remain sober. For some, this step involves taking a certain drug that can help reduce cravings and support your recovery. Other actions include sober living housing, joining a 12-step program, and outpatient therapy.

Managing Pain Without Opioids

For people who became addicted to the drugs because they needed help for their pain issues, there are other ways to find relief. For someone in recovery for an opioid use disorder, but who still needs help to manage pain, consider these options:

  • NSAIDS.
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Anti-epileptics.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Beta blockers.
  • Tylenol.

Also, there are many other actions to add to your routine to help with pain management. Things like physical therapy, stretching, swimming, yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness, for instance. Some people do well with massage and chiropractic care as well. There are pain support groups where you can receive peer support. Some herbal remedies, like vitamin D, turmeric, omega-3 fish oil, and others can also be offer pain relief.

Finding the perfect balance between pain relief and sobriety presents a real challenge. By being aware of the signs of an opioid use disorder, you are able to obtain the help you need. If you suspect you have a problem with pain pills, do not wait to reach out for help.

Capo by the Sea Provides Treatment for Pain Pill Addiction

Capo by the Sea blends a coastal vibe with expert treatment to promote the healing process. As you recover from an opioid use disorder, the team at Capo is right by your side, guiding you toward wellness. Capo offers a pet friendly option, couples rehab, or dual diagnosis treatment as special niches. Give the team a call today for more details about our program at (888) 529-2114.