Drugs such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone and Percocet are all considered a Schedule II narcotic. This means that they are very highly addictive and have a strong potential for the user to become addicted and develop a dependency on the substance. Due to this classification, there are many that have fallen victim to abusing these drugs and then launch into the various stages of the addiction process that begin with Tolerance and Dependency. While this stage is often confused with actual addiction, they are only manifestations of the development of the addiction.
Much like any substance, alcohol, Advil, coffee, etc., the body will adapt itself to withstand the chemical and become tolerant to it. The toleration of prescription pain pills develops gradually over time and the body will then require more of the drug in order to fully feel its effect. This is really no different from a coffee drinker that can go from drinking one cup of coffee a day to over three.
Tolerance and Dependence
In addition to developing a tolerance to a prescription drug, a person’s body will also begin the process of resigning some of the normal functions, which then make the person dependent on the presence of the drug in order to achieve normal function.
An example of this is an opioid pill painkiller. The job of this drug is to reduce pain. Normally the brain and body will produce a series of natural painkillers, which are referred to as endorphins. When the person takes a heavy painkiller, then the body will resign this function by sensing that there is already a synthetic chemical doing the job. This means that when a person tries to stop the drug, there can be severe withdrawal symptoms.
Once the drug has been taken for an extended or prolonged period of time, they will become dependent on the substance. The stopping of this medication will create mild to severe discomfort, depending on the dependency level as well as a series of withdrawal symptoms. This is a classic and tell-tale sign that a person is actually addicted to the drug.
Painkiller Withdrawal – 10 Signs Of
Some of the more commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms of popular painkillers include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Intense physical cravings
- Depression, uncontrollable grief, mood swings and sadness
- Headaches and other pressure in the head
- Stomach Cramps
- Leg pain
- Muscle and back pain
The second stage in the addiction process is known as the “mental and physical” phase of addiction. This is the stage where the mental and physical aspects of the addiction come into play. The stages of dependency and addiction have very subtle differences, with the most noticeable being the fact that the person will actually physically crave the drug, or have the mindset that they need them to function on a regular basis and experience acute or chronic pain without their presence.
In most cases dependency will be accompanied by several different withdrawal symptoms, but actual addiction will be accompanied by a list of other mental and emotional conditions, which include anxiety about stopping the specific drug and denial.
Painkiller addiction manifests on both physical and mental levels. While addiction will not usually appear without first developing a physical dependency, they are not exactly the same. Knowing the withdrawal symptoms to expect when trying to stop taking painkillers can help a person be more prepared for what is to come. This can also help family members handle the situation and call in professional help if it is needed.