Pain relief medications are some of the most prescribed medicines in the United States. Incidentally, opioids or narcotic medications are also some of the most commonly abused drugs. Many pain-reliever users develop narcotic addiction symptoms. Narcotic addiction is not a simple condition, especially if the person has been using the drug chronically. Call to find out more information about narcotic addiction and how it can be treated.
Addiction and Abuse of Prescription and OTC Painkillers
Opioids or narcotics are among the most abused prescription drugs in the United States. According to SAMHSA, non-medical or recreational use of pain relievers is the second most common form of illegal drug use in America. Painkillers were also involved in approximate 324,000 emergency visits in 2006.
In 2010, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that approximately 7 million Americans use psychotherapeutic drugs recreationally. Pain relievers ranked as the most abused drug with 5.2 million people taking the drug for non-medical reasons.
Most narcotic drugs are classified as Schedule II drug, which means they have a high potential for abuse. When combined with other non-narcotic medications, they are classified as either Schedule III or IV drugs, depending on the amount of opium in the analgesic combination medication.
Narcotic Tolerance, Withdrawal and Addiction Symptoms
Doctors only administer or prescribe a strong enough dosage of an opioid to reduce the patient’s awareness of pain, but the dosage should not be potent enough to induce euphoria. People who use narcotics as instructed by their doctors rarely develop tolerance and addiction to the drug as well. Tolerance only develops when the person’s body adjusts to the medication, and the person takes a higher dosage to stop the feeling of pain. Tolerance often occurs in people who have been taking narcotics for a long period of time. A person may become dependent on the drug after developing tolerance and may continue to use the drug to prevent the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms. When a person uses narcotics to satisfy his cravings despite knowing their negative impact, it is a sign that the person has become a narcotic addict.
Narcotic addiction symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Sense of euphoria
- Respiratory depression or shallow breathing
- Red, bloodshot eyes
- Vomiting and nausea
- Slurred speech
- Poor judgment, impaired thinking, confusion
- Flushed skin
- Numbness to pain or analgesia, and
- Needle marks on the skin
Narcotic Addiction Treatment
“Narcotic addiction symptoms can be treated with detoxification and rehabilitation.”Narcotic addiction symptoms can be treated with detoxification and rehabilitation. Inpatient recovery may not be necessary if the person has only taken the drug for a short time. Long-term users of narcotics or those who have developed tolerance, withdrawal syndrome, dependence, and addiction to the drug require a more thorough treatment using approved medications to counteract the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
One of the most common treatments for narcotic addiction is detoxification using methadone, a synthetic opioid that is indicated for long-term treatment of withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is used as a substitute to the addictive drug. Another medication used in the detoxification process is buprenorphine. Its action is similar to morphine and heroin, and it is used to relieve cravings without inducing the same “high” of opiates or other severe side effects of the withdrawal process.
Naltrexone is another opioid receptor blocker that has been proven effective in counteracting the effects of an opiate overdose. It is often combined with clonidine for rapid detoxification. Clonidine can also alleviate some withdrawal symptoms, including runny nose, abdominal cramping, muscle aches, sweating, and salivation.
Recovering from narcotic addiction symptoms depends greatly on the cooperation of the patient, expertise of the attending doctor, state of the facilities, and the social support the patient is receiving. After the detox and rehabilitation process, the patient may opt to join a local support group like Narcotics Anonymous, or choose ongoing outpatient one-on-one counseling that is offered by most luxury rehab and detox centers. For more information about the best treatment centers for treatment of narcotic addiction symptoms, call and talk to a specialist today.
- Narcotics refer to opium and its derivatives and their semisynthetic substitutes. Medically and legally, narcotics are used therapeutically to relieve pain, alleviate diarrhea, induce anesthesia, and suppress cough.
- Morphine and codeine are two of the natural derivatives of opium, while fentanyl, methadone, meperidine, and heroin are some of the semisynthetic derivatives of morphine and codeine. All of these medications are opiates and used as opiate analgesics.
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