The opioid crisis in America has reached epidemic levels, highlighting how dangerous painkillers can be for both individuals and communities. In 2017, more than 47,000 people in the US died from an opioid-related overdose. (1) This averages out to almost 130 deaths every day, a shocking statistic that shows how devastating opioid addiction can be. There’s no question abusing opioids can prove deadly if not properly addressed. This makes seeking help from a painkiller addiction treatment California extremely important. It’s crucial to understand why painkillers can be so dangerous and addictive in order to avoid a potentially tragic outcome.
What Are Painkillers?
Painkillers, or opioids, are a broad group of drugs that relieve pain by interacting with the opioid receptors present in your cells. The word “opioid” is derived from the word “opium”. Some forms of opioids are made from the poppy plant (where opium is produced from) and include popular painkillers such as morphine.
Opioids can also be produced synthetically in a lab, including powerful options such as fentanyl. Opioids travel through your blood, attaching to receptors in your brain cells. Then, they release signals that suppress your perception of pain and increase your feelings of pleasure. This process also activates reward centers in the brain that lead to a release of dopamine and create a euphoric feeling for the person using them.
The Reason Opioid Painkillers are Dangerous
Opioids remain a powerful tool for individuals seeking to reduce their suffering. Unfortunately, the reason these substances are so effective for treating pain also makes them especially dangerous and addictive. Lower doses of opioids will make a person sleepy. However, in higher doses, these medications can slow your breathing and heart rate and can ultimately lead to death. The euphoric side effect of opioids can also make them incredibly addictive. Users may become dependent on them long after their pain has subsided.
Because opioids create a euphoric and pleasurable feeling for users, it can become incredibly enticing to misuse these medications. Many individuals eventually form a debilitating addiction in the process. When a person begins to use opioids strictly as a way to get high, it can lead to consuming unsafe levels of the medication. Some even begin using it in a way other than it was prescribed, such as snorting or injecting it.
Additionally, chronic opioid addiction can also cause a person to seek out similar, less safe alternatives once their prescription runs out. Often times, individuals will move on to heroin, as it is frequently more widely available and cheaper than their pharmaceutical counterparts. (2)
Continued after infographic:
The Health Risks Associated with an Addiction to Painkillers
There are many health risks connected with an addiction to painkillers. These issues can manifest even if an individual is not misusing these substances. Issues include things such as:
- being at risk for a cardiovascular event
- a four-fold increase in the number of fractures experienced by the user
- being at an 87% greater risk of dying (3)
- as well as a 68% increase in being hospitalized for an adverse event.
While many Americans are aware of the addictive properties of opioids, many still push off the possibility of becoming addicted themselves. According to a poll by the National Safety Council, of those taking an opioid, nine out of 10 users said they were not concerned about addiction. This, despite the fact that almost 60% of those surveyed reported at least one addiction risk factor present in their personal or family history.
Why Painkiller Addiction Treatment California is so Important
Overcoming a serious dependence on opioids can be a tough road to navigate, especially if you are attempting to do so on your own. Seeking external support to achieve lasting sobriety can be one of the most powerful and effective ways to ensure you eliminate your addiction.
Painkiller addiction treatment California offers individuals a path to begin building self-esteem and self-worth. These are two pillars in the foundation of leading a healthy, drug-free life. Ocean Hills Recovery is one such treatment program that offers a “Collaborative Recovery” approach. We provide a customized solution for patients that incorporates their personal history, learning style, and individual responses to treatment.
It is important to select a rehab facility that offers patients with a full-spectrum, holistic approach to combatting addiction. Ocean Hills utilizes all available tools and techniques to ensure the most effective strategy to achieve sobriety. Medical supervision, patient-focused therapy, psychiatrists, and a supportive community can be the powerful, necessary response to overcome an addiction.
If the prospect of getting over your addiction has started to feel hopeless, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to keep you focused on the path to recovery. We offer a solution-focused approach that is structured according to each person’s individual situation. Don’t view relapse as a failure – it’s often a step along the way. However, it can only become a success if you decide to take the next step and address the problem. Let the caring clinicians of Ocean Hills Recovery help you today.