Prescription Drug Abuse, Addiction, and Detoxing

Most people who take a prescription painkiller—even those who occasionally misuse them for recreational purposes—can stop without much difficulty Such is not the case for the 5 percent to 10 percent of individuals with a biological predisposition to addiction

Addiction is not a matter of choice or lack of willpower It’s a chronic disease affecting the brain’s chemical makeup and cognitive functioning that is characterized by irrational, compulsive behavior, which continues despite increasingly harmful consequences Prescription painkillers, or opioids—are derivatives of opium They act on the nervous system to suppress the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and simultaneously to stimulate areas of the brain associated with pleasure In an addiction-susceptible person, the brain’s reward system highjacks normal thought processes to prioritize repetition of the pleasurable activity, and eventually to perceive it as essential to survival as breathing

The shorter the period of opioid abuse, the better the chance of overcoming addiction Treatment is not a quick fix The best approach depends on the needs of the individual and may involve detoxification to address the physical dependence, individual and group psychological counseling, and the careful use of medication assisted treatments such as Suboxone Relapses, especially within the first several years, are common This can make the process frustrating for those already adversely affected by the person’s addiction; however, support systems of family, friends and professional behavioral healthcare specialists are an integral part of recovery

To learn more about Painkiller Addiction, visit the Information Center at carrierclinicorg

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