Why are painkillers addictive?

Why are painkillers addictive?
Author: Tulip Hill Recovery
Published: March 4, 2021

Prescription painkillers are used to help many people manage chronic pain and pain from injuries. However, their long-term use can lead to a physical dependence that is very difficult to break free from. Once an addiction has settled in, discontinuing the use of painkillers can result in withdrawal symptoms, which can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Constipation / Diarrhea 
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle and bone pain

If you notice you are having a hard time quitting the use of painkillers or experience any of these symptoms when you haven’t used a painkiller in a little while, you may need to contact a recovery professional for addiction treatment.

Why are painkillers so addictive?

Prescription painkillers often make use of opioids, which are a derivative of the poppy plant. Opioids are effective in reducing pain because they trigger a dopamine release, which rewards your body with sensations of pleasure, effectively masking the pain. However, because the sense of euphoria associated with the dopamine release is so powerful, you can become psychologically addicted to painkillers in a matter of days if you misuse them. 

A physical addiction can take a little longer to set in, but this varies from person to person. Either way, once you have developed an addiction to painkillers, it can be very difficult to quit on your own. In these circumstances, you should visit a recovery professional for assistance.

Start your recovery journey at Tulip Hill Recovery

At Tulip Hill Recovery, we focus on discovering what factors in your life may be contributing to addiction in order to treat it at its main source. Our treatment model emphasizes the dual diagnosis approach, which means we treat addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders that might be fueling the addiction. This helps a person in recovery become better equipped for dealing with the challenges of mental health disorders without feeling like they need substances or alcohol to cope.

Are you ready to talk to someone about treatment for addiction for you or someone you love? Please contact us online or call us at 877-845-8192 to get in touch with our team and help start the recovery journey.

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Tulip Hill is a family-owned rehabilitation center with first-hand experience in addiction recovery. 

We believe a dual diagnosis approach that treats the mental health conditions underlying addiction is the best route to long-term sobriety.

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Murfreesboro, TN 37130

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