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Early Warning Signs of Opiate Dependence When Taking Prescription Pain Pills

Prescription pain pills offer fast, effective treatments for pain symptoms of most any kind. Most all prescription pain medications either come from the opium poppy plant or are synthetically formulated to produce similar effects. While these drugs can prove invaluable in cases of chronic or severe pain symptoms, they nonetheless come with certain unintended effects.

If at any point a person deviates from prescription guidelines, the risk of opiate dependence becomes a very real possibility. For these reasons, it’s important to be able to spot signs of opiate dependence early on to avoid the harmful effects of these drugs.

Pain Pill Effects

Prescription pain pills encompass a wide spectrum of drugs, each of which works to treat different types of pain symptoms. Some of the more commonly prescribed drugs include:

  • Vicodin
  • Hydrocodone
  • OxyContin
  • Demerol
  • Percocet

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription pain pills work by increasing the production of endorphin-type chemical in the brain. For the most part, endorphins act as the body’s own pain-relieving chemicals.

Prescription pain meds stimulate endorphin production by forcing chemical-producing cells to secrete these chemicals in large amounts, which accounts for the pain-relieving effects of these drugs.

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Early Signs of Opiate Dependence

Signs of Opiate Dependence

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms is a sign of opiate dependence.

Taking Larger Doses

According to the Journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, the brain naturally develops a tolerance to prescription pain pill effects after so many weeks or months of ongoing use. When this happens, it takes a larger dosage amount to produce the same pain-relieving effects.

This development is one of the unintended side effects of opiate drug use. Unfortunately, taking larger doses only works to set the cycle of opiate dependence in motion since brain tolerance levels will continue to increase for as long as a person keeps taking the drug.

Withdrawal Effects

Perhaps the most noticeable early sign of opiate dependence takes the form of withdrawal effects. Withdrawal effects develop out of growing chemical imbalances in the brain in response to the repeated increases in endorphin levels that come with prescription pain pill use. Withdrawal effects experienced include:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Low energy levels
  • Sweating
  • Noticeable changes in body temperature
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

Once withdrawal effects start to happen on a regular basis, the brain has become physically dependent on prescription pain pill effects.

The Difference between Prescription Pain Pill Abuse Versus Misuse and When to Consider Treatment

Emotional Instability

Opiate dependence can take two forms: physical dependence and psychological dependence. Psychological dependence develops as the mind comes to rely on the drug’s effects to cope with everyday life. In effect, the effects of prescription pain pill abuse on the brain’s chemical system has reached a point where a person’s thinking and emotional well-being depends on steady supply of the drug. At this point, opiate dependence has turned into opiate addiction.

Treatment Considerations

For the most part, following prescription guidelines to the letter offers the best protection against a developing opiate dependence. In cases where a person exceeds dosage amounts or increases frequency of use, the risks of opiate dependence increase accordingly.

If you suspect you or someone you know may be struggling with an opiate dependence problem and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-405-7172 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

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