Painkillers and Addiction
Although painkillers don’t always have a direct correlation to mental illness or mental health, we believe that it’s worth mentioning because of the prevalence of painkillers and their use across the board because they can affect someone’s physical and mental health if abused or used improperly.
A recent article from US News and World Report cited a study from the Journal of Adolescent Health stating that individuals with mental illness were more likely to be prescribed opioids (narcotic pain medication) to mitigate chronic pain and over twice as likely to become “long-term opioid users than those without mental health disorders.” The study found that individuals suffering from depression and anxiety were found to have more significant pain symptoms which necessitates longer treatment durations for their pain.
According to Addiction Hope, misuse and abuse of painkillers accounts for nearly 75% of all prescription drug abuse. We would like to dive a little deeper in our understanding of the situation surrounding prescription drug abuse with regards to painkillers, not to get buried in statistics but to provide some education and paint the scene on what’s happening in America today.
Perhaps the most important statistic is that those who abuse painkillers often get their drugs from friends or family members. Reportedly, only 4% get their drugs from dealers.
Other than alcohol and Marijuana, prescription painkillers are the next most abused drug in America for individuals over the age of 12.
Between the years 1994 and 2004, deaths from painkiller abuse rose 160% with ER visits related to painkiller abuse rising over 150% in a similar time frame.
In terms of prevention, make sure that if you live in a family setting and take prescription painkiller that you keep track of how many pills you have and keep them in a secure location. Keep on the lookout for signs of painkiller addiction, such as sudden mood swings, deceitful behaviors, social isolation from friends and family, drowsiness, increased forgetfulness, and decline in school or work performance.
If you or a loved one is taking prescription painkillers, be sure to have an open relationship with your physician to wean off of it once pain symptoms have dissipated. If the condition of your pain warrants it, consider working with a physical or occupational therapist or a massage therapist to find non-invasive ways to mitigating pain by seeking to make your body healthier. We know that painkiller addiction is serious and potentially deadly. If you need help, know that we’re not here to beat you with a hammer over the head because you messed up. We’re here because we care for the good people of the great state of Louisiana and we want to see everyone leading a healthy and productive life regardless of their afflictions. Your affliction doesn’t have to determine the rest of your life and we’re here to be on your side making sure that you are successful in achieving your goals and dreams.