According to the CDC, more than 100 people die of drug overdoses each day in the United States alone. Some of the most commonly abused medications include opioids, benzodiazepines and amphetamine-like drugs. Nearly three out of every four deaths caused by a prescription drug overdose are due to prescription painkillers. Because prescription painkillers can be extremely deadly, understanding the addictive qualities they possess can help to steer clear of a potential addiction yourself while protecting your own loved ones.
Although prescription painkillers and other prescription medications can serve a purpose with modern medicine, knowing how they affect the body and how you can prevent dependence or addiction is highly recommended before taking them yourself or watching a loved one begin using them.
Uses of Painkillers
Painkillers are often prescribed to patients who have recently endured a trauma or suffered a severe injury or a serious surgery. Painkillers help to numb the pain throughout the body but can also trigger an array of side effects, which ultimately has the capability of leading to addiction.
Painkiller abuse is on the rise naturally due to the increasing availability on the drugs illegally and being prescribed legally each day in doctor’s offices across the country. Teen drug abuse include prescription painkillers as the second most common drug abused among the demographic next to marijuana.
How Painkillers Work
Taking an opioid-based painkiller causes the drug itself to attach to receptors located within the brain and the spinal cord. Once the opioids attach to the opioid receptors they begin to block the transmission of any pain or discomfort messages that may be sent to the brain. When the painkiller opioids attach to the receptors in the brain and spinal cord they trigger a variety of euphoric symptoms and a heightened sense of awareness, which are some of the most common reasons why users become addicted to prescription painkillers so quickly.
Some of the most common side effects of common prescription painkillers on the market today include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and constipation. Additionally, if prescription medications are taken in a high dosage, respiratory depression may occur which is oftentimes irreversible and fatal. When prescription painkillers are mixed with other substances including alcohol and illegal substances they are even more deadly and can often lead to a fatal overdose. Mixing prescription painkillers with alcohol can lead to memory loss, respiratory depression or an overdose.
Addictive Qualities of Common Painkillers
Although there are many side effects and fatal risks involved with abusing prescription painkillers, they are also alluring and pose a variety of addictive qualities that cause users to continue to take more, often increasing dosage and usage over time.
Because the opioids involved in painkillers help to stimulate various areas of the brain, this triggers the sensation of pleasure, causing users to want more and more over time. Painkillers are also known to cause feelings of euphoria and boosted confidence, which may prompt users to want to continue using the drugs even once their actual physical pain has ceased.