Painkillersin particular, those in which codeine is found are quickly addictive. Therefore, before you swallow another pill for painkillers, think carefully about whether you need it.
The meaningless use of analgesics can only change the classification of therapy - treatment of pain for treatment for drug addiction. Do you want this?
The effect of pain medication
When our pain receptors are irritated due to trauma or infection, they emit a nerve impulse into the cerebral cortex, where there is a feeling of pain.
A nerve impulse, on its way meets different substances. Some intensify the feeling of pain, others weaken. The second group includes, for example, endorphins.
Painkillers can work in two ways:
- impersonating a natural substance pain relieving effect (strong painkillers are available by prescription, so-called narcotic drugs)
- inhibit the production of substances, pain enhancer (these are widely available painkillers).
Regardless of the mode of action, all painkillers can cause dependence after some time of use. The most common painkiller, as well as antipyretic, is paracetamol.
It is often used as an additive for many medicines. But, one must understand that such agents inhibit the synthesis of cyclooxygenase, which, in particular, protects the stomach from the negative effects of hydrochloric acid. Reducing the concentration of cyclooxygenase in the body is a direct path to gastric ulcer. Moreover, non-steroidal pain medications can lead to impaired liver function.
Headache, pain during menstruation, pain in muscles and joints, tooth pain - painkillers are good anyway. In addition, they are available without a prescription and can be bought at any supermarket or pharmacy. The ubiquitous analgesics can be found in handbags, men's purses and student portfolios.
Where so hypersensitivity to pain? Maybe you take medicine only out of habit? If your answer is yes, this is a signal that it is time to put the medicine aside and consult a doctor.
Pain medication should not be taken for more than 3 days. If the pain persists, this means that there are more serious disorders than overwork or a hangover. The longer you take this medicine, the higher doses you will need. Over time, the body gets used to painkillers and small doses cease to act. Particular care should be taken when using codeine-based tablets. In addition to painkillers, sleeping pills, hormones and antidepressants are also addictive.
Pain Relief Treatment
The best treatment for addiction to painkillers Is abstinence. Of course, first you will see a stormy withdrawal syndrome. As a rule, it takes about a week and it is accompanied by symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, anxiety, headaches and abdominal pains, sweating, cold and hot sweat, high blood pressure.
Therefore, when refusing anesthetic drug, you should control your pressure several times a day (minimum 3). Symptomatic treatment will bring temporary relief. It is useful to use magnesium preparations.
However, it is not always easy to get rid of addiction, so you may need specialized drug treatment. This will help to avoid relapse addiction.
The essence of the action of painkillers
It is known that opioid preparations cause the main varieties of which are hydrocodone and oxycodone. These painkillers are able to act on pain receptors that transmit pain signals. They are located in the brain and spinal cord.
In addition, painkillers affect the areas of the brain that are responsible for pleasure. That is why they cause addiction, because after taking such a pill a person feels relaxed, euphoric and moves away from reality. All painkillers work according to one of the principles:
- Inhibition of the production of substances that cause or intensify pain.
- Positioning yourself as a natural substance that can reduce pain impulse. These include drugs and very strong painkillers, which are sold only by prescription.
- Regardless of the mode of action in the human body, they are all capable of being addictive on a physical level. In addition, there is a psychological aspect to addiction to pain medications. Very often a person takes them even when he does not feel pain, but is afraid that he will come soon.
- The most common substance in these cases is paracetamol, which is sold both in pure form and added to various analgesics. In any case, it has a strong effect on the gastrointestinal tract and leads to peptic ulcer. Non-steroidal painkillers impair liver and kidney function.
Consequences of abuse of analgesics and opioids
Unfortunately, every person in the first-aid kit, glove compartment and handbags have analgesics in abundance. They can help out with any pain syndrome, and buying them at the pharmacy is not difficult. However, very often these drugs are taken not only to relieve pain, but also out of habit.
According to medical requirements, you can take painkillers for no more than three days. If the pain does not disappear, you cannot continue taking them, because only the doctor can determine the cause of this condition and prescribe treatment, and not a temporary improvement.
The longer painkillers are taken, the faster the body gets used to their effects. This becomes the reason that to relieve pain, it requires an increase in the dose of the drug, since it no longer responds to the usual ones.
The abuse of analgesics and opioid drugs leads to the emergence of a real drug dependence, which is sometimes quite difficult to get rid of yourself.
Prolonged use of opioid painkillers can lead to asphyxiation and death, as they can suppress the respiratory functions of the body. A person who is addicted to pain medications can be easily identified by the following criteria:
- Self-isolation, in which a person closes in himself and ceases to communicate normally with family and friends.
- A gradual increase in the dose of the drug and an increase in the intake, which indicates an increase in the tolerance threshold of the pain medication, because of which the body requires it in larger quantities.
- An obsessive state caused by an irresistible desire in any way to get a prescription for the drug.
- Continued use of drugs even after the condition has improved, and the pain syndrome has disappeared.
- A change in a person’s personality, a decrease in concentration, a change in energy — a person either becomes hyperactive or vice versa.
- Small memory lapses, forgetfulness.
- A person ceases to do the usual things: housework, attending school or university.
- Hypersensitivity caused by harsh sounds, too bright light or odors.
- The deterioration of a person’s appearance, as he ceases to take care of himself, forgets about hygiene, does not always monitor the cleanliness of his things.
- Sleep problems, redness of the eyes, frequent coughing or sneezing.
If these signs are present in a person taking painkillers, even if not in full, he urgently needs the help of specialists.
How to get rid of addiction caused by painkillers
People who have been taking painkillers for a long time should decide to abandon them on their own, as the process of getting rid of addiction does not always go smoothly and quickly. The most effective treatment for this condition is complete abstinence from pain medication.
Naturally, as with drug addiction, and with drug addiction, a person during abstinence expects severe withdrawal symptoms or withdrawal. It is accompanied by insomnia, dizziness and migraines, irritability, nervous disorders and pain in the abdomen.
Hot and cold sweats, hot flashes and chills can torment many people. During this period, even in people who do not suffer from hypertension, pressure can significantly increase, so it needs to be controlled several times a day.
To facilitate the period of weaning, the doctor may prescribe symptomatic treatment aimed at eliminating bouts of vomiting and nausea, reducing pressure and maintaining the nervous system. Most often, patients are advised to undergo treatment with preparations containing magnesium.
Principles for the Safe Use of Painkillers
Despite the threat of becoming addicted to painkillers, there are conditions in which they are mandatory. The postoperative period, the treatment of cancer and many other conditions are always accompanied by unbearable pain that cannot be tolerated.
If you use pain medications prescribed by your doctor in a strictly prescribed dose and do not prolong their intake on your own, they will not cause addiction, even if the dosage is increased.
If you feel better, doctors are in no hurry to cancel the treatment, as the body is used to pain medication. To stop taking the drug, the attending physician gradually and according to a certain scheme reduces his dose until it is completely discontinued.
Myth 1. If the previous dosage has stopped helping me, or after I discontinue the drug, I have a “breakdown,” I am an addict.
Addiction to a substance is not characterized only by these symptoms. Anyone can become insensitive to a certain dose of the drug or meet with some degree of dependence, just as coffee lovers cannot live without a morning cup of strong coffee. But this does not mean a painful, drug addiction.
What is addiction?
Many people incorrectly use the term “addiction,” denoting to them physical addiction to the substance. Western narcologists adapt the interpretation of the term for ordinary people: “Dependence is a chronic disease that occurs due to the compulsive use of a narcotic substance that causes harm or causes dysfunction of any kind, while a person does not stop using the substance, despite the conscious and obvious harm.”
Other doctors add that the drug forces you to subjugate most of your life: time, effort, money and other resources are being spent to get a new dose. Physical dependence has different symptoms. It can be both part of drug addiction and an independent component of human behavior. But it does not cause an obsession to get a new dose of medicine and does not prevent a person from living as usual.
If, after stopping the drug, you have signs of withdrawal, this does not mean that you are an addict. This is just a signal that you have stopped taking it too sharply and you need medical advice on how to give up the drug gently and painlessly.
Myth 2. If you take painkillers for a long time, addiction necessarily develops.
Most patients who have been prescribed pain medication for a long period of time do not experience addiction while taking drugs in accordance with the indicated dosage.
If you start taking them more often than prescribed, increase the dose or seek prescriptions for potent drugs from different doctors without telling them that you are already taking the drug, beware: this behavior may indicate addiction. As mentioned earlier, you begin to become an addict if the “relationship” with the substance causes life problems, but you continue to take it and are not looking for help.
Identifying addiction to painkillers is not easy. It is much easier to diagnose addiction when a person indulges in "club" drugs like marijuana or cocaine. If a person close to you takes prescribed medications that relieve pain, you will probably never know whether he actually experiences more painful sensations than before, and whether the previous dosage really does not help him. Symptoms of severe pain and drug addiction are somewhat similar: in both cases, something happens in the brain that forces the person to look for a new dose.
Of course, strong painkillers are unsafe drugs. That is why you should never take them without a prescription.
Myth 3. Since the majority does not become addicted to painkillers, I can take them completely calmly.
Even if it is a banal analgin or ibuprofen, uncontrolled administration of painkillers, especially regular, is extremely undesirable. There is nothing terrible or shameful to go to the doctor and find out which pain medication, in what dosage, with what frequency you need to take for headaches, muscle pains or other “everyday” pains. Moreover, any substances in certain doses are potentially fraught with dependence.
Especially dangerous are opioids that cannot be taken in isolation. They can be used only as part of complex therapy, which may include other medications as well as psychological support.
Some doctors, prescribing a drug that can cause addiction, offer patients a trial period to look at the reaction of the body. And only after making sure the safety of the substance, the doctor will prescribe a long-term treatment.
If you have heard enough of friends and family that “this pain medication helps well”, check with your doctor if you can take it. Unfortunately, most often we not only do not seek medical advice, but do not even read the instructions and moreover do not pay attention to contraindications, to the paragraph “Caution ...” and to the list of side effects. Having earned incomprehensible symptoms, we wonder where they came from and go to the reception with a complaint, which is unlikely to sound the name of a “safe” painkiller, which until recently we ate handfuls.
Myth 4. Better to endure pain than take risks and take painkillers that can be addictive.
Pain does not need to endure. It will not only cause unnecessary suffering, but will inevitably affect your whole life, making you an irritable person whom others try to avoid. Pain signals a malfunction and should make you go to the doctor.
Of course, the cause of the pain must be found and eliminated. But while the diagnosis is being carried out, while the doctor selects treatment, while the disease begins to go away, you will need painkillers. Are you afraid of addiction? Tell your doctor about your fear. Some patients stop taking painkillers for fear of becoming drug addicts. However the pain they
forced to endure, can spoil life stronger than physical addiction to the drug.
There is no need for extreme positions - both a panic fear of drugs and a neglect of recipes and recommendations for their use. If you do not have a medical education and you do not understand why you are prescribed just such a drug and in this dosage, trust a specialist. And at the same time ask to explain the mechanism of action of the active substance.
Myth 5. The most important task of painkillers is to relieve pain.
Pain relief is important, but that’s not all that a painkiller does.
When a doctor prescribes an anesthetic, he seeks not only to drown out the pain, but also to restore the patient’s functionality. Functionality is a person’s ability not to depend on illness and pain, to continue an ordinary life, to communicate and enjoy every day.
In other words, painkillers do not just relieve pain. They bring life back to normal. If taking painkillers does not change anything in a person’s life, except to reduce suffering, this treatment is strange and unlikely to be prescribed by a doctor. The specialist’s task is to return to the patient what he lost with the onset of the disease.
Myth 6. I am a strong person, and I will not become addicted to medicine.
Dependence has nothing to do with willpower, it’s not a moral category when you yourself decide what is good or bad, and choose what to do. Dependence is a chronic disease, and some people are genetically disposed to it more than others.
The risk factor in the development of addiction is heredity. If your family has a history of alcoholism, gambling or drug addiction, or you know yourself as a person who is addicted or quickly losing control, you need to be extremely careful with potent drugs.
An extremely small number of people taking painkillers go to the pharmacy with a prescription, even if they are going to buy over-the-counter drugs. We sincerely believe that if a medicine can be bought freely, it is safe. But this is a mistake. Не бывает безопасных медицинских препаратов.