Anyone who’s suffered an unexpected injury or accident well knows that life goes on regardless. Work pressures, family responsibilities and the like continue on as is. This can make for a rough and tumble recovery time, even when the pain pills are working.
The dangers of long-term prescription pain pill use have a lot to do with a person’s day-in, day-out life coupled with the risks that come with any form of ongoing opiate use. With opiate use carrying a high risk of abuse, long-term prescription pain pill use all but guarantees a person will fall into a web of addiction.
Understanding the risks and dangers that come with long-term opiate use can help you in taking steps to address a potential drug problem early on and avoid the pitfalls that come with addiction.
Opiates and the Central Nervous System
According to University of Texas Health Services Center, opiates naturally produce pain-relieving effects due to similarities in chemical makeup with the body’s own endorphin chemicals. The brain and central nervous system produce endorphins on an as-needed basis. Prescription pain pills force the release of large amounts of endorphin chemicals throughout the brain and central nervous system.
Any time excess chemical levels occur on a frequent or regular basis, the brain’s overall chemical system enters into a state of imbalance that gets progressively worse with continued drug use. This growing state of chemical imbalance accounts for why long-term prescription pain pill use can be dangerous.
Call our toll-free helpline at 800-429-5210 (Who Answers?) for information on opiate addiction treatment programs.
Effects from Long-Term Prescription Pain Pill Abuse
Rising Tolerance Levels
While following prescription guidelines is the best way to reduce abuse and addiction risks, the brain will still develop an ongoing tolerance for opiates, especially in cases of long-term prescription pain pill use. Rising tolerance levels take shape as the brain automatically adjusts to the presence of opiates in its system.
In effect, the longer you take pain pills the larger the dose required to relieve existing pain symptoms. A person may opt to take larger doses or increase dosing frequencies. Either way, the opiate abuse cycle has begun.
Hyperalgesia, a condition that often develops with long-term prescription pain pill use, entails a worsening of pain symptoms over time to the point where opiate effects actually makes pain symptoms worse, according to University of Utah Health Care. This condition develops out of the damaging effects of opiates on central nervous system communications.
With prolonged drug use, nerve cells become hypersensitive or “fried” as a result of damage done to individual cell structures. Under these conditions, someone living with a chronic pain condition can easily turn to a much stronger drug like heroin out of desperation.
Once a person starts engaging in opiate abuse practices, it’s only a matter of time before the makings of an addiction start to take shape. Rather than warp the brain on a physical level, addiction results from effects had on the mind as far as warping a person’s thinking, emotional needs and daily behavior.
Once addiction develops, overdose risks increase exponentially, especially in cases where hyperalgesia is present.
Ultimately, long-term prescription pain pill use is wrought with risks and dangers that may well warrant some form of drug treatment once opiate abuse patterns take over. If you suspect you’re struggling with an opiate abuse problem and need help finding a treatment program that can address your specific needs, call our toll-free helpline at 800-429-5210 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addiction counselors.