The use of prescription painkillers for pain management has seen a dramatic increase over the last 15 to 20 years. While the use of prescription painkillers has seen great medical benefit for the management of chronic pain–especially for those afflicted with cancer—the dramatic increase in the use of prescription drugs has also led to an increase in abuse of these drugs. Prescription painkiller abuse has quadrupled from 1999 to 2010 and the rates of overdose deaths have risen sharply in both women and teens.
With the use and abuse of prescription painkillers reaching epidemic proportions, it is important to understand the importance of knowing the signs of addiction are present. It is also important to note the importance of medical detoxification in order to withdraw safely from prescription drugs as well as alternative options to deal with chronic pain.
The Use of Medical Detoxification
If an individual is looking to quit the use of prescription painkillers, the safest way to do so is through medical detoxification. The importance of medical detoxification in regards to quitting the use of prescription painkillers is that it allows someone to manage withdrawal symptoms safely in a controlled environment as well as aid in the reduction of both the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal.
Some of the symptoms associated with withdrawal from prescription painkillers include:
- Muscle Spasms
- Increased Heart Rate
- Difficulty Breathing
The use of medical detox in the process of recovering from prescription painkiller abuse also includes the diagnosis of any co-occurring disorders that may be tied to prescription painkiller abuse which can include the following:
- Chronic pain conditions
- Poor mental and physical health
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Painkiller Addiction
There are several signs that you or a loved one is becoming or has become addicted to prescription painkillers. By recognizing these symptoms, options centering on the cease of use of prescription painkillers can be implemented. Some common symptoms seen with prescription painkiller abuse can include:
- Drowsiness or lack of energy
- The inability to concentrate or a lack of focus
- Noticeable changes in behavior and social interactions
- Changes in physical appearance (significant weight loss, dilated pupils, lack of sleep, etc.)
- Noticeable increases in secretive behavior
Finding Alternative Options to Deal with Pain without Prescription Painkillers
To avoid the potential pitfalls of excessive and abusive use of prescription painkillers, there need to be viable alternatives available that can be utilized for pain management. These alternatives can be viewed as complementary and can be used in combination with other therapies. Some of these alternatives can include:
- Chiropractic interventions
- Supplements and vitamins (glucosamine, fish oils, capsaicin)
- Relaxation Therapy
The Importance of Seeking Sound Medical Advice
If you’re living with chronic pain, considering alternative treatments can make a lot of sense in regards to quitting prescription painkillers. However, these alternatives need to be seen as being integrated within the framework of an overall pain management plan. Before trying any therapy option on your own you should seek sound medical advice. You and your doctor should talk over the pros and cons of different approaches to find what approaches will work the best for you.