Pain medications are highly addictive. Even people who never before experienced addiction to other substances may develop tolerance to pain medication, which leads to addiction. As tolerance occurs, the user needs to take increased amounts of the drug to get the required effect. In the case of most synthetic opioid medications, tolerance is reached quickly, making larger doses necessary in short time. This creates higher doses to give the desired effect. Pain is not being treated effectively.
Getting off these medications can be difficult, especially when the user has issues with chronic pain. Most pain pills are not designed to offset pain for very long. They are only effective short-term. When they begin to become ineffective, users either begin to take larger doses or need to change medications.
Pain Med Withdrawal Indications
Before getting off pain pills, it is wise to consult with a physician. There is little risk for side effects from withdrawals, but some users prefer to use other medical interventions for doing so. Some of these are methadone, suboxone or buprenorphine. Use of substitute drugs is controversial, and some of them are considered to be more addictive than the drugs being withdrawn from.
Except in severe cases, withdrawal from pain pills is not life threatening. The side effects are uncomfortable and can make the user very sick while they occur. Normal withdrawal periods range from 3 to 7 days, depending on the time frame for use and the amount of medication being used.
When coming off pain pills, most people, even those without chronic pain, experience painful symptoms that are part of withdrawal. Some of these symptoms will go away in a few days or weeks.
Symptoms of withdrawal frequently send the user back to the drug because of their extreme discomfort. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Rapid breathing or panting
- Chills and Goosebumps
- Nasal stuffiness and runny nose
- Muscle cramping and aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramping
- Loss of appetite
How to Lessen Prescription Med Withdrawal
Little can be done to soothe the user while withdrawal occurs. Symptoms are similar to a severe flu that lasts longer than most flu viruses. Maintaining hydration and chewing ice chips can help with dehydration from vomiting and loss of appetite. Aspirin or Ibuprofen may help with chills and muscle aches, but might increase nausea. Bananas or coconut water may help with replacing nutrients to offset loss of potassium and electrolytes. Drinking soothing teas and hot baths can sometimes bring some comfort to someone undergoing withdrawal symptoms.
The urge to return to drug use during withdrawals is severe. Knowing that relief is just a few pills away is the dangerous call to a user in withdrawals. Clearing out all pills is necessary for successful intervention. Staying off pain pills is as tough as any other drug of addiction. Help may be needed to maintain abstinence from pain pills or to avoid switching to another type of addiction to replace the pain pills.