When it comes to abusing mind-altering substances, the danger is par for the proverbial course. After all, it’s all right there in the term: They’re “mind-altering” substances, meaning that that alter — or even hinder — the ability of the brain to function normally. Even if isolated to the brain, the neurological repercussions of substance abuse can be profound, but the reality is that the brain controls virtually every aspect of living, including speech, thought, movement, emotions, and so on. In other words, while we refer to alcohol and drugs as mind-altering substances, they affect far more than just the mind.
Among the many chemical substances that have proven to be prone to recreational abuse, prescription pain medications, or “painkillers,” are undoubtedly one of the most concerning. These substances originated as medications that gave sick or injured individuals a way to get their lives back; however, with the release of OxyContin in the 1990s, followed by a series of other similarly-potent painkillers, we found that painkillers are highly addictive and can inadvertently lead individuals down a path to heroin addiction.
If you or someone you love has a painkiller abuse problem, you’ve probably been asking yourself a rather important question: How does a person quit abusing painkillers? Fortunately, there are a number of options available to help individuals reclaim their sobriety and health by getting off painkillers.
What to Look for in Someone Abusing Painkillers?
Before we jump into the main ways a person can stop abusing painkillers, it’s necessary to take a brief moment to consider some of the signs of painkiller abuse and/or addiction. Even though individuals suffering from addiction make every effort to conceal their substance abuse problems from others, there are a number of semi-unavoidable effects that result from frequent or habitual painkiller abuse.
Many of the more easily-observable signs of painkiller misuse are related to the effects an individual experiences upon imbibing large amounts of pain medication, associated with intoxication. As with other opioids and depressants, individuals who are acting under the influence of painkillers often have very little energy. Thus, they appear to be quite lethargic and might seem to be falling asleep, even when they’re sitting up or standing. And similar to alcoholic intoxication, individuals who are intoxicated from painkillers sometimes slur their words.
Other signs of painkiller abuse and addiction related to the individual’s behavior and lifestyle. When painkiller abuse is becoming a problem, the drug user will often become increasingly withdrawn from his or her family members. Similarly, there are often increased absenteeism at work or school. At home, individuals with painkiller problems are secretive and might even exhibit increasingly or uncharacteristically dishonest behavior.
What to Do If I Want to Quit Abusing Painkillers?
Those who are suffering from painkiller abuse problems or painkiller addiction should know that there are several options available when it comes to quitting painkillers. Further, the “best” method of getting off painkillers will vary from one individual to the next because every individual has his or her own specific background, circumstances, and needs; so the method of overcoming painkiller abuse that works optimally for one individual isn’t necessarily going to work to the same level of efficacy for the next individual.
Detox From Painkillers
With certain mind-altering substances, recovery professionals don’t recommend attempting to get sober at home on one’s own. The reason that getting sober at home is often discouraged is due to the danger posed by abruptly ceasing one’s intake of certain substances after an extended period of having used the substance or substances regularly. Although painkillers are not, in fact, one of those substances that is dangerous to stop using on one’s own at home, most professionals agree that painkiller detox treatment is the most successful way to stop using painkillers.
In short, painkiller detox treatment is a type of recovery treatment that takes place prior to an inpatient treatment program. Rather than having an individual go immediately into inpatient care and have to cope with withdrawal symptoms while participating in treatment, a painkiller detox program would allow a patient to overcome the physical side of his or her painkiller abuse so that he or she isn’t trying to cope with withdrawal while in treatment.
Inpatient & Outpatient Rehab Programs
As mentioned above, since ceasing one’s painkiller abuse after an extended period of time is more uncomfortable than it is dangerous, a painkiller detox program is often considered optional. For those individuals who choose not to complete detox treatment, getting off painkillers could begin with actual addiction treatment.
Just as there are numerous ways to get off painkillers, there are several different types of addiction treatment programs available to individuals seeking respite from a painkiller abuse problem. The best way to think of these programs is to consider that they exist on a spectrum, which ranges from inpatient to outpatient care. Traditionally, the inpatient drug rehab programs are residential-style treatments, meaning that the patients reside on-site while completing the program. By comparison, outpatient care allows the patient to continue living at home, attending treatment by commuting to the facility on designated days.
Though each has its merits, inpatient care is considered the most effective, especially when it comes to getting off painkillers. The reason it’s considered more effective is that inpatient care separates individuals from the people, places, things, and situations that may have contributed to their painkiller abuse problems.
Medication-Assisted Therapy Options
A popular alternative to traditional clinical addiction treatment programs is a unique recovery strategy known as medication-assisted therapy. In the shortest terms, this is a type of care wherein patients are prescribed certain medications so as to aid them in their journeys toward sobriety. One particular type of medication-assisted therapy is known as replacement therapy with methadone management being the most accessible form of replacement therapy for individuals suffering from painkiller abuse problems.
Effectively, a replacement or medication-assisted therapy program like methadone management allows an individual to “replace” painkillers with a prescribed alternative. As a result, the individual can “bypass” with detox and withdrawal phases.
Don’t Let Painkillers Steal Your Life, Get Help Today
When someone becomes addicted to painkillers there is a good chance it began as a legitimate reason such as an injury or surgery, but it many times ends up with the user addicted. Here at Principles Recovery Center, we understand all aspects of substance abuse and chemical dependency and that there are sometimes gray areas. If you are ready to quit taking painkillers and learn to overcome your pain, call us today at 1-866-692-0909.