Opioids and Pain
A 2016 study of Medicare recipients found that in a few years prior, about 15 percent of patients were prescribed a short- term opioid medication when they were discharged from the hospital; and 90 days later, 42 percent were continuing to take it.
Once receiving a prescription from their doctor for pain relief of an injury or illness, it can be difficult for patients to stop. Dependence on pain drugs happens when our brains become tolerant to the substance after a period of time, causing an increase in amount or decrease in duration of taking the medication. Neuro-pathways become rewired to operate at levels that cannot seem to function without the use of the medication.
When a person reaches a certain tolerance level, showing an increase of needing medication, this can be the initial sign of addiction. After tolerance develops and frequency is increased, people start to take additional risks. Behavior starts to change, people put themselves in harms way, lose jobs, get arrested, or accidentally cause harm to others. The final level of addiction to pain killers is that there becomes an intensified obsession that the user will engage in: nothing matters as they will go to any length to use.
Commonly Abused Prescription Opioids
For over 100 years, pain relieving drugs have been prescribed to medical patients to help alleviate symptoms and lead productive lives. However, there has been a steady rise from short term need to long term dependency, and now, addiction is rampant in the senior adult demographic. Statistics have partially increased in numbers due to the fact that average life span has increased, although pills often become a “band-aid” and quick fix to underlying issues.
Commonly abused pain killers are:
There can be side-effects and withdrawals which need different treatments and approaches to abstaining from use.
If you or a loved one finds that there is a dependency on addictive pain killers, please seek help from a medical professional or treatment center. You are not alone.