Why Do People Get Addicted To Painkillers?
Did you know that 80% of all painkillers are consumed by Americans? If you include Canada and Western Europe to our percentage, it will leave the rest of the world with only 5% for painkiller consumption.
So why is the United States consuming the highest percentage of painkillers? Well, to answer this question we have to discuss painkiller addictions and dependency.
Why do people get addicted to painkillers? Keep on reading to learn how the opioid crises took over the American people.
Doctors Overprescribe Painkillers
Depending on which state in the United States you live in, you may have a higher amount of prescriptions available to you.
For example, someone living in North Carolina is more likely to be prescribed painkillers than someone living in Colorado. North Carolina has 96-143 prescriptions per every 100 people while Colorado has 52-71 per every 100 people.
This study can suggest two things, doctors are either more likely to overprescribe painkillers or more people seek out painkillers in these areas. Whatever the case may be, doctors are in fact prescribing more painkillers than ever before, which can cause a prescription drug addiction.
In fact, some doctors prescribe so many painkillers at one time that a patient can actually die, such as what Dr. Nichols did, that resulted in five separate deaths.
Understanding that not every doctor has your best interest in mind is crucial because you should learn to get multiple opinions and to think for yourself. If you feel like you are being overprescribed and that you can manage some pain on your own, then do it.
If you have any concerns, also bring it up to your doctor. If they dismiss your concerns, find a new doctor. The best way you can manage your pain is with someone who takes your health and comfort seriously.
Taking Higher Doses Than Prescribed
Often times when a person is experiencing chronic pain or extreme temporary pain, they want it to end as soon as possible.
As much sense as this notion makes, it isn't always the most viable option. For instance, when someone is experiencing back pain and they take effective painkillers, their pain goes away almost completely.
Because that person is no longer feeling crippling pain, they do things that they normally couldn't do. Now instead of listening to their body's natural pain, they cover up that pain and return to regular life without worrying.
This results in them irritating their injury and once the painkillers wear off, the pain returns ten-fold.
They take the normal amount again and this time it doesn't work. Instead of dealing with the pain, they take more. This becomes a common cycle of prescription addiction due to tolerance buildup. The regular amount that used to work no longer helps and you've increased your dosage levels resulting in painkiller dependency.
However, there are cases where certain painkillers don't work for someone or the dosage is too low. If this is the case, contact your doctor instead of taking matters into your own hands.
Withdrawal for addicts is an extremely brutal and long process to partake in, therefore, avoiding the addiction in the first place is a crucial step.
Painkillers Affect The Brain
Opioids have a long track-record for making a person 'feel happy', this is due to the fact that painkillers affect the brains reward center which increases large amounts of dopamine.
Because painkillers depress the central nervous system, the person ends up feeling positive emotions such as happiness and peace. The opioids attach to the opioid receptors you have on your nerve cells which effects both pleasure and pain.
This effect happens almost immediately and you are no longer stressing over the pain that you felt 1 minute ago.
But this euphoria doesn't last forever, overusing painkillers may cause you to stop experiencing the initial euphoric feeling. This usually occurs with chronic longterm use.
The most common cause of painkiller usage is destroying your bodies natural creation of dopamine, which means you can't feel good naturally anymore. You now need to take these pills to experience bliss.
Because our brains are naturally built to seek out reward-stimulating things, our brain is now convincing us to keep taking painkillers. You start to listen to your brain and give it what it wants, you have now started your prescription drug addiction battle.
Opioid addictions can occur extremely quickly. In fact, painkillers can physiologically alter your brain even after only 2 weeks of consumption.
The Symptoms Of Painkiller Addiction
Now that you know how average people can become addicted to prescription painkillers and how these drugs affect the brain, let's discuss what the symptoms of opioid addiction look like.
Behavioral symptoms include borrowing or stealing painkillers from friends and family members. It also includes social withdrawal and slurred speech.
Physical symptoms include heavy sweating, pupil dilation, itchiness, and disturbed sleep patterns. Other symptoms include mood swings, depression episodes, and increased irritability.
Since addictive prescription drugs are commonly used in the United States, having a support team that knows what to look for is extremely helpful. Often times people suffering from addictions feel helpless and alone, so if you notice any of these signs in a friend or family member make sure you speak up and say something.
Why Do People Get Addicted To Painkillers?
Why do people get addicted to painkillers? People get addicted to painkillers because some doctors are too quick to prescribe drugs.
However, we can't only put the blame on doctors. Often times people misuse their prescriptions or lie about their pain to get more opioids.
Anyone can become dependant on painkillers, but that doesn't mean you need to stay dependent. With a good support system, a caring doctor, and a strong willpower, you can end your addiction.
Overcoming a pill addiction is hard, but it is not impossible.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, you can request an intervention from a specialist, join a treatment program, or find a rehab center. Click here to learn more about your options.