Painkiller Abuse and Addiction: What You Need to Know Now

Painkiller abuse and addiction is currently at an all-time high in the United States. Research tells us that more people are addicted painkillers than to any other drug. This is very concerning, and authorities have even gone so far as to call the problem an epidemic.

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Painkillers and Addiction

If you're abusing pain pills, or if you're a pain pill addict, you need the information we've provided here. It's possible that you weren't even aware that your pain pill abuse was a problem. Many people aren't. These drugs are thought to be safe because they're prescribed. If anything, that fact alone makes them much more dangerous than other drugs.

Let's discuss the reality of painkiller abuse and addiction. If you have an addiction to pain pills, or if you're abusing them, this is certainly for you.

List of Common Painkillers

There are so many different medications used to treat pain. Some of the more commonly prescribed painkillers include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Tramadol
  • Oxycodone
  • Percocet
  • OxyContin (oxycodone)
  • Vicodin
  • Methadone
  • Norco
  • Celebrex
  • Ultram
  • Naproxen
  • Dilaudid
  • Opana
  • Morphine
  • MS Contin
  • Hydromorphone
  • Paracetamol
  • Endocet
  • Ultracet
  • Tylenol with Codeine
  • Demerol
  • Oxymorphone
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Meperidine

Many of these medications have horrific painkiller addiction stories attached to them. They are highly addictive, and very dangerous.

Most people don't realize that forming an addiction to pain pills can happen so easily. They believe that their doctors gave them the medication to help, so it must be OK to use.

When painkillers are taken short-term, and according to the prescription label, they can be very effective. However, many people don't follow their doctor's instructions to the letter. There are also doctors who prescribe these drugs for longer than the recommended time.

10 Facts About Painkillers

There are many things you might not have previously known about painkillers. To demonstrate, here are 10 facts about painkillers that you may find surprising.

  • Overdosing on painkillers has become extremely common in children in the United States.
  • Certain pain pills may contain toxins proven to cause cancer.
  • Some of the more common painkiller addiction side effects include kidney and liver damage.
  • Some pain pills that are taken to relieve pain can actually cause more pain in the body.
  • For adults, it is very easy to overdose when using prescription painkillers.
  • Opioid addiction statistics tell us that OxyContin kills more people than heroin and crack cocaine combined.
  • 7 out of 10 teenagers who first try painkillers get them from a friend.
  • Prescription pain pills are currently the leading cause of overdose in the United States.
  • Most teenagers who abuse painkillers don't know why they're doing it.
  • Continued abuse of prescription pain pills is very likely to lead to heroin addiction.

Painkiller Abuse

What is Pain Pill Abuse?

Prescription pain pill abuse happens all the time, and many people don't even realize they're doing it. Painkiller abuse can actually look like a few different things. These might include:

  • Using someone else's painkillers when you don't have a prescription
  • Taking more of your pain pills than you should at one time
  • Taking doses of your pain medication that are too close to each other
  • Drinking alcohol along with your painkillers to enhance their effects
  • Taking pain pills for too long

People will also frequently doctor shop or buy pain pills online when they can no longer get prescriptions. Painkiller abuse means any act of misusing pain medication. However, someone who abuses their pain pills might not have an addiction if they don't feel compelled to use them.

There are a number of reasons why so many people participate in painkiller abuse. For many of them, they do so unknowingly. For others, they may know they're addicted, but they don't know how to treat their pain any other way.

Of course, there are those who are abusing painkillers because they like the high they get from them. When pain pills are abused, they can produce a euphoric high that's hard to resist. It's calming and relaxing, and it keeps people coming back to use again and again.

Did you know that:

  • Each year, painkillers cause more deaths than traffic accidents?
  • About 60% of young adults who are abusing painkillers started using them before they were 18?
  • 70% of people who abuse prescription drugs get them from a friend or family member?
  • Prescription painkillers are the second most commonly abused drug among teens.
  • About 1/3 of teenagers don't believe that prescription pain pills are addictive.

What is a Painkiller Addiction?

People can become addicted to painkillers very easily, and quickly. When abusing painkillers, abuse that continues long enough will eventually lead to a pain pill addiction. This occurs because the body becomes used to getting the drugs every day. Dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain are altered when using pain pills. This leads people to believe that they need them in order to feel OK.

An excellent example of this is seen in someone who has an addiction to paracetamol. Paracetamol is a medication that may be prescribed for pain. It is commonly combined with opioid drugs to enhance its pain relieving effects.

When someone uses paracetamol for a period of time, and then they stop, they experience side effects. Withdrawal symptoms are typical for those with addictions to pain killers. Also, people tend to feel as though they need more of the drug to get the desired effects over time.

Painkiller Addiction Facts and Statistics

There's no question that prescription opioids are among the most abused painkillers. They are the reason why most people become addicted to these drugs. It's interesting to look at various painkiller addiction statistics and facts from this year. Clearly, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

According to SAMHSA:

  • 50.5% of people who are addicted to painkillers get them for free from someone else.
  • Only 22.1% of people with addictions to pain pills get them from a doctor.
  • 4.3 million Americans have used prescription painkillers non-medically in the last month.
  • Close to 2 million people in the U.S. meet the criteria for a prescription painkillers abuse disorder.
  • 1.4 million people have used pain pills for the first time during the last year.
  • 21.2 years old was the average age for first-time prescription pain pills use in 2017.

Pain Pill Addiction Signs You Should be Aware of

When you are a pain pill addict, there are certain painkiller addiction symptoms that should be easy to see. You may not notice them within yourself, but others probably will.

Some signs of being addicted to pain pills include:

  • Spending a lot of time thinking about or talking about your medications.
  • Keeping your medication and your painkiller abuse hidden from people you love.
  • Always taking different amounts of pain pills than your doctor prescribed.
  • Going to more than one doctor for the same prescription pain pill.
  • Lying about having lost your prescription so that you can get more.
  • Obtaining painkillers from other sources, such as purchasing pain pills online.

Do you notice any of these behaviors? If you do, then you might be a pain pill addict. If you're still not sure, you should try taking an addiction quiz to get more information.


The Short and Long Term Effects of Painkillers

What are the Side Effects of Painkillers Tablets?

There are so many negative effects of painkillers. Unfortunately, most people will overlook them for months, or even years. Their goal is to get high, and they will manage the effects of their medications in other ways. The side effects of pain pills include: Bouts of constipation, Pinpoint pupils, Problems with coordination, Drowsiness, and Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

The Short Term Effects of Painkillers

The short-term effects of pain medications should be enough to get people to stop taking them. Still, they persist in pursuit of the high these drugs provide. In the short term, people are likely to experience:

  • Problems thinking clearly
  • Itchiness of the skin
  • Nausea and possibly even vomiting
  • Respiratory depression
  • Feelings of heaviness in the extremities

The Long Term Effects of Painkillers on the Body

If you've been taking these drugs for a long time, you need to know the long-term side effects of painkillers. These can include:

  • A suppressed immune system
  • Frequent infections
  • Possible heart, liver and kidney problems
  • Severe constipation, and possible intestinal blockages
  • Decreased libido, and the possibility of infertility

Of all the long term painkiller side effects, liver damage, kidney damage and heart problems are the most concerning. Even so, people continue to use in spite of these risks.


Of course, the long-term effects of pain pills on the body are even more worrisome. When people take painkillers for a long period of time, they are putting themselves at a great risk. Painkillers can have a serious effect, both mentally and physically.

Pain pills can also have a negative impact on the brain as well. People may suffer from anxiety or depression when they take these drugs for too long. Also, they run the risk of experiencing severe mental impairment and even memory loss.

Pain Pill Overdose

The Risk of Drug Overdose from Painkillers

A pain pill overdose can be deadly. Every year, it seems as though more and more people are overdosing on these dangerous drugs. It's important to be able to recognize the signs of a painkiller overdose. Some of the side effects of painkillers overdose include:

  • Constricted pupils
  • A loss of consciousness
  • A slower breathing rate
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • A week pulse
  • A lower blood pressure than normal

In the event of a painkiller overdose, immediate medical attention must be sought right away. Otherwise, the overdose will probably be fatal.

It's astonishing to see the amount of people who die each year because of overdosing on painkillers. Statistics from the CDC tell us that:

  • 44 people die every day in the U.S. because they overdosed on painkillers.
  • Between 1999 and 2015, more than 183,000 people have died because of prescription pain pill overdoses.
  • That includes 15,000 people who died in 2015.
  • Between 1999 and 2014, pain pill overdose rates were highest among people between 25 and 54 years old.
  • Methadone, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone were among the drugs most commonly used during fatal overdoses.

Painkiller Withdrawal

What is Withdrawal from Painkillers?

Withdrawal from painkillers occurs when people stop taking these drugs. It is the body's response to no longer having them in the person's system. Pain pill withdrawal can be very difficult to cope with. In fact, it often drives people back to using again.

Some common painkiller addiction withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Intensive cravings for pain pills
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Becoming depressed or anxious
  • Insomnia at night and fatigue during the day
  • Muscle aches and pains

How Long do Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

People often want to know, how long does pain pill withdrawal last? In order to answer that question, it's necessary to take a look at the painkiller withdrawal timeline.

  • The First 12 Hours – Symptoms of withdrawal from pain pills will probably begin during this time. However, they should be fairly mild, and easy to manage.
  • The First 24 Hours – Painkiller withdrawal symptoms should begin to increase in intensity. More moderate symptoms may appear.
  • The First 3 Days – Withdrawal from painkillers should continue to increase, and additional symptoms should appear. By the end of the third day, the peak should have been reached.
  • Days 3-5 – Symptoms of withdrawal from pain medications should begin to diminish in their severity.
  • Days 6-7 – Withdrawal symptoms should lessen by the end of this period, but can return at any time.

When it comes to painkiller withdrawal symptoms, how long you experience them is relative. Everyone is different, and this is something you should be prepared for.

How to Get Off Pain Pills at Home

Pain Pill Addiction Treatment at Home

There are so many Norco deaths per year, and the Vicodin overdose death rate is astounding. What is unfortunate is that most of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper care.

Most of the time, when people try to stop using painkillers, they just quit taking them. They don't understand the risks involved with this quit method. There really is no way to do pain pill addiction treatment at home. Stopping the use of pain pills abruptly can have dangerous consequences.

Cold turkey quitters run the risk of experiencing severe medical complications if they try quitting alone. Also, more often than not, people relapse. When they do, they are at risk of suffering from an overdose from pain pills.

Help! I'm Married to a Pill Addict. What Can I do?

My husband is addicted to pain pills. I feel lost, and like there's nothing I can do to help him.

Sadly, most people don't know how to help someone addicted to painkillers. They may talk to them constantly about getting help, but nothing seems to change. Perhaps this has been your experience too.

t this point, it would probably benefit you to seek out an intervention. This will allow you the best chance of getting help for your family member.

Painkiller Addiction Recovery

It's important to choose pain pill detox as the very first step in recovering from this addiction. This is a process that helps your body remove those toxins. It also works by reducing your withdrawal symptoms, and making your recovery much more comfortable. Most people appreciate medical detox because it carries so many benefits.

Painkiller Addiction Treatment Offers Hope for Recovery

Painkiller addiction treatment centers are available for those who want to recover from this addiction. Here at AspenRidge North, we understand what you're going through. Fortunately, we have heard many painkiller recovery stories from people we've helped. We know that it is possible to heal when you have the right support.

Do you have questions about painkiller abuse or addiction? We can assist you. Please contact us right away.