a man with glasses looks at his reflection in a mirror and thinks about the signs of painkiller abuse

Signs of Painkiller Abuse

Doctors may prescribe powerful painkillers for a variety of reasons ranging from post-surgery recovery to chronic pain. Some people also obtain the drugs illicitly or start with a legitimate prescription and transition into illegal use. However painkiller use begins, it often moves in the direction of misuse, especially when the drug in question is an opioid. This is due in large part to opioids’ extremely high addiction potential. 

Overdose rates are similarly high among those who misuse painkillers. It’s thus imperative to identify the signs of painkiller abuse early on so that effective recovery can begin. For painkiller addiction treatment near San Antonio, TX, contact The Right Step Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628 or by online message. 

What Are the Signs of Painkiller Addiction? 

Some of the most commonly used and misused examples of prescription opioids are codeine, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, and meperidine. They directly act on brain receptor sites that normally convey feelings of pain, effectively blocking the body’s ability to register this sensation. Meanwhile, profound mood changes also occur, such as euphoria and a deep sense of relaxation. 

Understandably, such “highs” can be psychologically addictive. Beyond their cognitive and sensational appeal, however, opioids are also physically addictive, meaning they cause the brain to effectively “forget” how to self-regulate. Thus, when dependence develops, it may become impossible to achieve even a basic sense of well-being without continuing and even escalating drug use. 

Here are a few signs of painkiller abuse that you or your loved one may be struggling with: 

  • Engaging in dishonest or secretive behavior such as “doctor shopping” or hiding drug use 
  • Substantially inconsistent energy levels, including periods of severe drowsiness 
  • Tolerance, needing greater and greater quantities of the drug to get the same effect 
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or trembling if painkiller use stops 
  • Withdrawing from previously enjoyed activities 
  • Reduced performance at work or school 
  • Lower appetite 
  • Constricted pupils which may not respond to changes in light level 
  • Abnormal sleep patterns 
  • Distressed skin, e.g., itchy or flushed 
  • Heart palpitations or serious difficulty breathing 
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation, nausea, or vomiting 
  • Cognitive changes like disorientation, memory difficulty, euphoria, and confusion 
  • Serious mood symptoms like anxiety, depression, or even psychosis 

If you or a loved one are experiencing these signs, professional help at The Right Step Hill Country can provide more information about suitable treatment options for recovery. 

What Kinds of Treatments Are Effective for Painkiller Abuse? 

An effective painkiller use disorder treatment program will first address the question of dual diagnosis. In many cases, those who misuse a drug, painkiller, or otherwise also struggle with a mental health concern that mutually informs their substance use. Conditions like depressive and anxiety disorders, PTSD, and bipolar disorder are all common among those struggling with painkiller abuse. 

In cases where doctors make a dual diagnosis, both concerns should be treated simultaneously. This allows the client the best chance of avoiding relapse due to a resurgence of symptoms from either untreated mental illness or substance abuse that can trigger backsliding across the board. 

After an initial needs assessment, clients with severe addiction will enter detox. There, they receive 24/7 supervision by medical staff to ensure their vitals are stable, they are getting adequate nutrition, and they do not have access to addictive substances while they undergo the detox process. Following this challenging but essential step, talk therapy can be highly effective in working with painkiller addiction. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

CBT is especially popular since it’s well-researched and gives back tremendous agency to those recovering from substance abuse. In this form of individual counseling, clients gain skills to identify self-defeating thought patterns and reframe them in positive and empowering ways. This builds resilience to the challenging mental and emotional landscape that may have contributed to their drug use in the first place. 

Group and Family Therapy 

Group and family therapy can also be very supportive. In family therapy, the client’s primary support network gets on the same page about the disease of addiction and learns how best to support their loved one in recovery. Group therapy instills personal accountability and allows clients to experience non-judgemental support and healthy relating techniques. 

Get Help Recovering From Painkiller Dependence at Hill Country in Wimberley, TX 

Assistance with painkiller addiction treatment is just a phone call or electronic message away. Reach out to the caring and well-informed team at Hill Country in Wimberley, TX, for more information about signs of painkiller abuse. We’re available at 1.844.675.1628, or you can fill out our confidential online contact form to get started. 

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