In recent years, prescription medications have become one of the most frequently abused chemical substances amongst every age group in communities throughout the country. Of all pharmaceuticals, opiate painkillers are the most frequently abused. Teenagers and young adults have easy access to such medications, mostly because they are so over-prescribed to adults. Half empty bottles of painkillers are forgotten about in medicine cabinets, and curious adolescents looking for a cheap high do not stop to consider potential consequences before depleting the stash. Unfortunately, opiate painkillers are highly addictive, and dependency often forms in young adults far more easily. Of course adults are majorly affected by the widespread abuse of opiate painkillers as well as youth – and long-term effects of persistent use are causing severe health issues (and in many cases, death) across the country to this day.
Long-Term Effects of Painkiller Abuse
In many cases, painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone are prescribed to individuals following a sports injury, surgery, or to treat chronic pain. Even when prescribed they are commonly abused based on their highly addictive nature and potency. Short-term effects of painkiller abuse include overdose – an occurrence that has rapidly become the leading cause of accidental death in the vast majority of states countrywide. Long-term effects are extremely injurious, and often lead to death eventually.
After physical and mental dependence has taken hold, tolerance begins to develop, and the pills are needed in greater amounts in order to achieve the same high. After prolonged periods of consistent daily use, painkiller abuse is likely to lead to addiction. Once an individual feels they need the painkillers in order to function, it is probable that they are addicted. Addiction leads to daily use in order to avoid symptoms of painkiller withdrawal, which include flu-like symptoms, anxiety, tremors or shaking, poor appetite, insomnia, moodiness, confusion, and sweating. Usually these symptoms become evident as soon as one stops using the drugs, and persist for up to several weeks after use has been discontinued.
If an addict continues to use to avoid withdrawal, long-term effects will begin to develop. Such consequences include respiratory failure, decreased cognitive function, and psychological symptoms such as severe paranoia and depression. Recent studies show that the steady development of major depression is a common denominator amongst most painkiller addicts.
If you or someone you know is battling an addiction to painkillers, feel free to call one of our trained representatives. We would be more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have regarding painkiller abuse, and how to get help.