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Painkiller Abuse Trends

Next to marijuana, prescription drugs are one of the most commonly abused drugs by teens. Over half of those teens who use prescription drugs are using painkillers. Painkillers and prescription drugs seem overall safer than their “street drug” counterparts, however, the side effects and consequences of these drugs are on right on par.

A lot of people take these drugs for legitimate reasons, but still others are abusing these painkillers and using them for recreational purposes. Below we highlight why painkiller addiction occurs, the hidden dangers of painkiller abuse, and how to find the best treatment option for your teen.

Why Painkiller Addiction Occurs

Painkillers are often seen as the less harmful substitute for other street drugs. After all, they are commonly prescribed by doctors. Some teens end up becoming addicted to painkillers only after they’ve been prescribed the drugs due to a medical circumstance. After a while, the teen is in need of higher doses of painkillers just to control the pain.

This can end up leading to painkiller dependence. It’s not uncommon for teens in this stage to go through similar withdrawal symptoms to those who are addicted or abusing prescription medication for non-medical reasons.

In other cases the teen ends up experimenting with painkillers out of curiosity or peer pressure. Something as seemingly innocent as taking a single Vicodin at a party can turn into a full-blown addiction. Since, painkillers release dopamine throughout the body, a lot of people become addicted to this “high”.

Addiction occurs when painkillers are taken not for relief from pain, but instead to feel a dopamine boost.

Dangerous Side Effects of Painkiller Abuse

Each type of prescription drug will come with its set of side effects. However, most negative side effects are amplified in teens as their brains and bodies are still developing. The most common side effects are below:

  • Organ damage
  • Respiratory failure
  • Overdose
  • Nausea
  • Breathing problems
  • Intense withdrawal symptoms

Why Is Painkiller Addiction So Dangerous?

Since painkillers skew the brain’s reward system, a person who abuses opiates will begin to feel this drug is the most important thing in their life, since it brings them the most pleasure. This will create a host of short-term and long-term negative consequences in your teen’s life.

Painkiller addiction will pose a big problem to your teen performing well in school, and maintaining friend and family relationships. However, painkiller addiction remains even more dangerous with its potential for overdosing.

Over time, your teen’s tolerance for painkillers will rise. Which means they’ll have to take larger and larger doses just to get the desired effect. As they continue to up their dose this only increases the chances of a potentially fatal overdose.

Getting Help For Painkiller Addiction

If you suspect your teen is abusing prescription drugs, or has become addicted through a medical condition, it’s important to get them the help they need as soon as possible. Effectively, treating a painkiller addiction can be tough, especially if the teen has a pre-existing or co-occurring condition that requires the assistance of other prescription medication.

That’s why it’s important to always seek out a qualified treatment specialist who has experience with the type of addiction your teen is suffering through. If you have a teen or loved one who is suffering, then get in touch with our staff today.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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