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Recognizing Painkiller Abuse

a person shivers in the background in a blanket while someone in the foreground holds up a pill to show painkiller abuse

Opiates, or opioids as they are commonly referred to, represent a class of drugs originally derived from the opium poppy plant. They are used medicinally for pain relief but are also widely misused and abused due to their addictive nature. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset seeks to explore commonly abused opiates and understand why they have a high potential for addiction and guide you through the complexities of painkiller abuse and recovery. Call us at 866.931.6429 to learn more about our opiate addiction treatment in Massachusetts.

Commonly Abused Opiates

Opiates are renowned for their powerful pain-relieving properties and calming effects. They function by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body, thereby reducing the sensation of pain. Opiates are naturally occurring, and opioids can be semi or fully synthetic. Here are some of the commonly abused opiates and opioids:

  • Heroin – This illicit drug is among the most potent and highly abused opiates. It is usually injected, smoked, or snorted, and it gives users a rush of euphoria followed by a state of drowsiness and relaxation.
  • Morphine – Derived directly from the opium poppy, morphine is often used to treat severe pain in medical settings. However, its intense pain-relieving properties make it a common target for misuse.
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin) and Oxycodone (OxyContinⓇ, Percocet) – These are semi-synthetic opioids often prescribed for pain relief following surgeries or injuries. Due to their accessibility and potency, they are frequently misused.
  • Fentanyl – This synthetic opioid is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and is used medically for severe pain management, often in cancer patients. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is also a significant problem contributing to the current opioid crisis.
  • Codeine – A natural opioid, codeine is less potent than other opiates but is still subject to abuse. It’s often used in cough syrups and for mild to moderate pain relief.

The addictiveness of opiates lies in their ability to stimulate the reward center of the brain. When these drugs bind to opioid receptors, they trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This creates a rush of euphoria, followed by a feeling of relaxation and satisfaction.

Repeated exposure to these pleasurable effects can lead to dependency. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and adjusts normal functions accordingly. When the drug is removed, withdrawal symptoms occur, compelling the individual to continue using the substance to avoid discomfort.

How to Recognize Painkiller Abuse

Painkiller abuse often starts subtly, making it hard to recognize at first. However, several physical, behavioral, and psychological signs can indicate someone is misusing painkillers. These include:

  • Taking higher doses than prescribed or using painkillers without a prescription
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Drastic changes in mood or behavior
  • Sleep disturbances, including excessive sleep or insomnia
  • Unexplained financial difficulties
  • Unusual secrecy or defensiveness
  • Increased tolerance to the medication’s effects
  • Withdrawal symptoms when trying to cut back or stop use

At Evoke Wellness at Cohasset, we understand the struggle that comes with painkiller abuse. We believe that no one should have to face this challenge alone, and we’re committed to providing comprehensive, compassionate care tailored to the unique needs of each individual. Our multi-faceted approach includes medically supervised detox, therapeutic counseling, and long-term recovery strategies to help individuals regain control of their lives.

Discover our Treatment for Painkiller Abuse at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset

Addiction is not a choice; it’s a complex disease that affects both the brain and behavior. At Evoke, we treat it with the seriousness it deserves, focusing not just on the symptoms but also on the underlying causes and triggers.

Let our experienced, caring professionals at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset guide you toward recovery. Call us at 866.931.6429 today.