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.
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.
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.