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Medicine and Illicit Drugs: Why Painkillers Can Be both Helpful and Harmful
“Medicine and Illicit Drugs: Why Painkillers Can Be both Helpful and Harmful”
Medicines can treat certain illnesses. Drugs are bad for you. At least, that’s the general idea regarding those two words.
But the truth is, medicines and drugs are basically the same thing. Medicines are substances that can prevent diseases. Drugs are substances that cause changes within a person’s physiology. Not all drugs may be medicine, but all medicines are drugs.
They’re related, if not entirely similar. But the reason there’s such a wide gap between their common usage and public perception is because of connotation.
Drugs are associated with abuse, addiction, dependence, and a lot of health problems. Medicines can help you get better when you’re sick. There’s a negative connotation attached to the word drugs, and that’s where it gets confusing.
Painkillers, for example, are powerful drugs that can help treat patients who are going through a lot of pain. But they are also highly addictive, especially when misused. Therefore, it’s hard to label a drug that can be defined as either, if you’re using the widely used definition. We can’t assume that painkillers are bad, but we can’t just say they’re always good.
So on this article we are going to identify that line in the middle: where the benefits of painkillers end, and where the adverse effects begin. Hopefully we’ll get to clear up the misconception that “all drugs are bad”—after all, it is up to the person using it.
The reason painkillers aren’t supposed to be boxed into one definition or expectation is because its effects depend on the person using them. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and meperidine—these are all highly potent substances. That’s why they can help a person get through difficult conditions such as cancer pain, surgical pain, and traumatic pain. But that is also why they can be dangerous when misused.
Follow your prescription carefully if your doctor gives you painkillers. They are habit-forming, so it is very easy to get addicted. You may even experience some side effects—even when you’re taking them at pharmaceutical doses!
The real danger comes with frequent intake of larger doses of these prescription drugs. They may give you an intense high, but they can also give you health problems.
Prescription drugs such as painkillers are often abused, not just because of the euphoric effects, but also because of their accessibility. These are easier to obtain compared to other illicit drugs such as meth or LSD. There are also those who think that abusing prescription drugs is safer.
This is far from the truth.
High doses of painkillers can lead to dangerous health effects, which we will discuss later on. And sadly, within recreational settings, people are more likely to take higher doses of painkillers. There’s no one there to keep track of anyone else’s drug intake, so the risk of overdose and developing dependence is high.
What are the Effects of Painkiller Abuse?
Painkillers can have short term and long term effects that affect both the mind and body. For starters, a person who is high on painkillers should not attempt to drive because they are more likely to get into a traffic accident.
These substances can make the mind less responsive, decreasing their ability to react to their environment. This presents a danger not only to the person driving, but also to other people on the road. Drugs can have an effect on the people surrounding the abuser.
Common physical reactions to high painkiller doses include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, muscle spasms, and random twitches. Some users even have a heart attack, which can be fatal if the individual is not given immediate medical attention.
Dependence, tolerance, addiction, and overdose are also possible with long term abuse.
Beyond physical effects, painkillers can tear apart families and relationships. The addicted individual becomes less mindful of their responsibilities and begins prioritizing the drug over everything else. Financial problems are common, and it can be expected for the person’s career to suffer as well.
How Does Painkiller Addiction Detox Work?
If someone you love is addicted to painkillers, the best thing you can do is look for a detox facility near you. The right treatment center will be equipped with everything the patient needs in order to recover and go back to living a full and sober life. When looking for a detox center, keep in mind some factors such as location, convenience, and success rating.
The patient will go through a medical assessment. This will determine the right treatment plan based on their current condition.
Their symptoms will be addressed before and during the detox process, during which their painkiller intake is slowly lowered. This will help keep withdrawal symptoms manageable. This is the proper way of getting the drug out of the patient’s system. Instead of abruptly quitting the drug, they are gradually taken off of it. Certain medications may be used during this process, some of which are opioids.
After the detox, the rehabilitation facility will also offer behavioral therapy and other similar techniques to help the user adjust to their drug-free lifestyle. They will be educated on how to cope with stress and cravings without returning to their drug abusing habits.
They may go through counseling, addiction education, or incentive-based programs to help them stay sober. The ultimate goal of the detox process is to help the patient gain back their health, their confidence, and their sense of self-worth. They will be able to become sober and remain sober. Ultimately, they can restore the damage done by painkillers and live a full, happy life.