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Painkiller Addiction

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No one ever intends to become addicted to painkillers. As a matter of fact, most people do not want to take this type of medication due to fact that addiction to them is so prevalent.

A person may suffer an injury or have serious surgery. They are then prescribed a painkiller to relieve the pain, which in turn helps the healing due to the fact that the person can concentrate on recovery without hurting. After the injury has healed or after the recovery period of surgery has passed the painkiller is still taken, often at a higher dose. Most of the time this dosage is increased by the person themselves without a physician's authorization. Instead of finding other methods to control their pain a person will take a painkiller. Thus begins an addiction to painkillers.

The brain produces a natural substance called "endorphin" that is used by the body to calm the nerve cells that are responsible for pain. After a painkiller is used for a long time, the brain relies on the artificial chemical instead of the naturally produced substance. Oxycontin, Vicodin or Percocet are the most widely prescribed painkillers and are the ones that most people become addicted to.

There are some amazing facts about addiction to painkillers: Prescriptions for painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet number around two million each year; cocaine and marijuana addiction now ranks behind prescription drug addiction in some areas of the country and almost 9 % of people in the U.S. have used prescription pain killers in a way other than what they were prescribed for.

Physicians often have problems in determining if a patient is addicted to painkillers or if their condition is actually getting worse. No one wants to hear from their doctor that they may becoming addicted to their painkiller, what they want is help in relieving the problem.

Becoming an addict is not factor of a person's willpower or lack thereof, or a person's moral failure. Genetics play a part in the vulnerability of a person. If there is a history of drug or alcohol use within a family, then a person may be more susceptible to becoming addicted.

There are signs that a person is becoming addicted to painkillers. Some of these are: using painkillers more often than needed, a change in personality, going from doctor to doctor, and even neglecting their appearance.
It is hard for an addict to admit that they are addicted. Support from family and friends are the most important thing that a person needs at this time. Talking about their addiction may make the family feel as if they have failed the person. This is not the case. A person who admits that they are an addict is on their way to recovery.

Finding a drug treatment center that the person feels comfortable in is very important. Alcohol rehab not only treats alcoholic but also can focus on various other drug addiction. The person must be willing to participate in the program to get better.

References:
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/DrugFact/index.html
http://www.druginfo.nsw.gov.au/

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