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Risks Associated with Prescription Pain Pill Abuse & When to Seek Treatment

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Becoming dependent on prescription pain pills will make you feel like you need them to get through each day.

Prescription pain pills offer an effective means for relieving most any type of pain symptom. These drugs also produce certain unintended side effects that carry a high risk for abuse and addiction.

While no one expects to fall prey to addiction, prescription pain pills work quietly behind the scenes, taking over essential brain chemical processes. These effects can occur regardless of whether a person takes the drug for medicinal or recreational purposes. For these reasons, anyone who’s used prescription pain pills for an extended period of time may want to consider getting needed treatment help.

Prescription Pain Pill Abuse

As of the start of the 21st century, a number of new prescription pain medications have entered the market, some of which carry incredibly high addiction potentials. Some of the more commonly used pain medications include:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • OxyContin
  • Fentanyl
  • Dilaudid
  • Percodan
  • Hydrocodone

Prescription pain pills can be formulated to produce any number of effects, within a range of varying potency levels. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 2.1 million Americans struggled with prescription pain pill abuse in 2012. Over the years, this number has continued to rise as more and more people are exposed to opiate drug effects.

Risks Associated with Prescription Pain Pill Abuse

Physical Dependency

Opiate drugs in general have the same chemical makeup as the brain’s own pain-relieving chemicals, also known as endorphins. When ingested, the brain readily accepts opiates as it would its own chemical materials. These similarities play in integral role in the abuse-addiction cycle that develops with continued drug use. Physical dependency develops out of a growing dependence on opiate effects since the brain automatically adjusts its own endorphin producing rates in response to opiate’s ongoing presence in its chemical system.

With continued prescription pain pill abuse, chemical-producing brain cells also undergo damage as a result of the strain these drug’s place on the brain’s chemical-producing processes, according to the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute. These developments further contribute to physical dependence since a person must take increasingly larger drug doses in order to experience the same desired effects.

Psychological Dependency

After a certain point, the brain’s physical dependence on prescription pain pills evolves into a psychological dependence. At this point, the brain reward system has succumbed to the drug’s effects.

The brain reward system plays a central role in determining what’s important in a person’s life. Ultimately, this system defines a person’s daily priorities, motivations and behaviors.

Once psychological dependency takes hold, the reward system comes to view prescription pain pill effects as necessary to a person’s survival. Under these conditions, someone addicted to prescription pain pills believe he or she needs the drug to cope with everyday life.

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When to Seek Treatment Help

In the absence of needed treatment help, the cycle of prescription pain pill abuse and addiction will continue for as long as a person keeps using. In the process, his or her quality of life will gradually diminish as the effects of the drug impair the mind’s ability to make rational decisions. Before long, everything a person thinks about or does will center on getting and using the drug.

If you or someone you know struggles with prescription pain pill abuse and have questions or concerns about opiate addiction, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 877-743-0081 (Who Answers?) for more information. Our phone counselors can also help connect you with treatment programs in your area.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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