Woman struggling to manage her use of prescription drugs.

Hook, Line and Sinker: The Painkiller Addiction

Why It’s So Easy to Get Hooked on Prescription Drugs

It’s the curveball you never saw coming. You made an appointment for chronic back pain and your doctor prescribed you painkillers to relieve the symptoms. You begin taking the pills twice a day as prescribed, but your back still doesn’t feel right. So, you just up the daily dose for the pain. No harm in that, right? Before you know it, a painkiller addiction is in full effect and the majority of your time is spent thinking about new ways to get your hands on more pills.

How did this happen? All you wanted was to relieve your back pain, not develop an addiction to prescription drugs that kills more than 115 Americans every day. Unfortunately, prescription drugs like opioids are easy to abuse because they are so widely prescribed and largely considered safe.

Let’s take a closer look at why it’s so easy to get hooked on painkillers.

Prescription Drugs Change the Dynamic of Your Brain

Painkillers have an extremely powerful effect on the brain, which is why they require a prescription in the first place. When you take an opioid pain reliever, the drug essentially pulls on the brain’s “happy” lever to make you feel good. As you take more and more doses, the drug changes the way your brain functions, causing a tolerance where the drug is needed at all times. This dependence becomes so strong that your brain doesn’t know how to feel good without it, resulting in an addiction.

We Were Made to Believe Painkillers are Safe

At the tail-end of the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured doctors that prescription drugs weren’t addictive. Naturally, doctors took this information as a green light to prescribe more opioid pain relievers to patients throughout the 2000s, paving the way for the opioid crisis we’re seeing today. In 2015, nearly two million Americans suffered from a painkiller addiction, and today, 21-29% of people prescribed opioids end up misusing them.

Opioid Pain Relievers Offer Instant Gratification

Many of the problems people are prescribed painkillers for can be relieved through other methods like physical therapy, diet changes or exercise. However, these solutions require more effort and take longer to see and feel an improvement. On the other hand, painkillers work quickly and effectively, providing instant relief from physical pain or anxiety. These drugs work so well that many people start turning to them for even the slightest hint of pain to avoid further discomfort.

Prescription Drugs Serve as a Substitute for Therapists

Prescription drugs are known for providing a sense of euphoria, helping you feel comfortable and relaxed. This is certainly addictive all on its own, but painkillers also offer an unexpected benefit – relief from emotional pain. Feelings and emotions are often difficult things to deal with, and many people feel too ashamed to seek a therapist or don’t believe talking to a counselor will help. Prescription drugs replace this need, immediately blocking the emotional pain you might not want to deal with.

Prescription drugs are extremely easy to get hooked on. Luckily, early detection and support can help get the addiction under control. If you think you have a painkiller addiction or are developing an addiction to prescription drugs, Ranch Creek Recovery offers prescription drug treatment to help you overcome your addiction.

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