How to Provide Prescription Painkiller Help to Family Member - Reflections Rehab
Start your Recovery 866.790.7979

How to Help a Family Member Addicted to Pain Medication

Opioid addiction is a serious problem in our society and has rightfully been labeled a national epidemic. However, after surgeries or during injuries, some people are looking for relief, and pain medication can be helpful.

Finding a balance between alleviating pain and preventing dependency can be tricky. Dependency can overtake someone’s life quickly, and it’s often easier for a friend or family member to see when an addiction begins to take hold.

Despite pain medication’s help in times of need, many believe that there are other ways to treat pain that shouldn’t lead to addiction. Medical professionals wrote 207 million opioid painkiller prescriptions in 2013, and that number has risen every year since. On a related note, the United States has almost 100 percent of the world’s hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone is an opioid that affects the levels of dopamine in the brain and is often prescribed after a surgery or when someone is recovering from an extremely painful injury. If someone takes it regularly for a while, a tolerance begins to build. This means people need to take more and more of the drug to continue to feel the pain-numbing effects.

If people stop taking the medication, they will be met with painful withdrawal symptoms that they may not even realize are a consequence of stopping the medication. Talking with loved ones about this downward spiral can be difficult, but it’s crucial that they find help for prescription drug abuse.

The Average Timeline of Opioid Withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal generally begins between six and 12 hours after the last dose. This can vary depending on the specific dosage and the length of time the person has taken the medication.

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak within three days and can last any amount of time. Some experience withdrawal symptoms for a week and some for a month. If the person addicted does not find help, relapse can be almost impossible to avoid – if the medication is available. If it isn’t, some turn to street drugs, which create another, more deadly issue.

Opiates act as nervous system depressants, reducing:

  • Breathing rate
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature

The body eventually becomes dependent on the chemical changes that happen in the brain during this time. When the drug is gone, withdrawal symptoms ensue.

Common Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms

Help for addiction to prescription drugs starts with watching your loved one who may be dependent. Therefore, some of the opioid withdrawal symptoms to watch for include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive tears
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Chills

Psychological symptoms include difficulty concentrating, anxiety and countless others. These side effects can reach any level of intensity. The reaction depends on the person’s level of addiction and dependence on the drug.

If you’ve noticed these symptoms in a loved one after he or she stops taking medication and you see the drug-seeking behavior, your loved one may have a dependency on painkillers.

How to Respond If You See Addiction in a Loved One

You may be nervous about approaching someone regarding this issue; after all, a doctor prescribed these drugs because your loved one needed them, but their future may be in jeopardy. Considering the countless deaths from opioids that have swept this country, that isn’t an exaggeration.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, talk to him or her, but don’t encourage stopping cold turkey. Get them to their doctor or another professional for prescription painkiller help before they begin experiencing further dependency.

The more dependent a person is on a drug, the more difficult the withdrawal can be. People suffering from withdrawal should be under the care of medical professionals who can help counsel and stabilize them through the process.

Prescription Painkiller Help: Seek Alternative Pain Relief

Your loved one may be afraid to stop taking painkillers – not because of withdrawal symptoms – but for fear of chronic pain. For people who are dealing with chronic pain, it is frightening to think of cutting pharmaceuticals out of their life completely.

You may not have the answer for them in this situation, but a professional interventionist may be able to help. He or she can talk your loved through the need to seek help and discuss methods for pain management that do not involve opioids.

New and Overlooked Pain Relief Techniques

There are many interesting innovations on the horizon for pain management. Some researchers have suggested applied gaming as a strategy for pain management. The research is not completely finalized yet, but people are discovering that enjoyable activities like playing video games could help relieve the pain that people would usually take medication for.

Mental techniques are another way to combat chronic pain. Therapists have been known to be able to teach patients certain tricks that can help them deal with their pain. It is currently central in the military. Military members are taught these mental tricks and skills so they can keep fighting.

Similar methods can also work on civilians. At Reflections Recovery Center, we work with the individual to see which methods work best for them, both during their time in treatment here and when they walk out the door.

Men’s Rehab for Prescription Drug Abuse

The most important thing that people struggling with addiction need is support. Reflections Recovery Center offers this – along with compassion and professional medical care. We leverage personalized treatment plans and the full continuum of care to offer our clients their highest chance of lifelong recovery.

Get Our Free eBook to Find Out Why Men’s Rehab Works

Why Men's Only Rehab Works - Reflections Recovery Center