People who struggle with drug addiction come from many different backgrounds. Substance abusers don’t fit a particular mold. In fact, many people who use prescription medications under a doctor’s supervision may have a physical dependence. A dependence on painkillers can quickly lead to addiction if you don’t understand how they affect your body. That’s why it’s important to find an addiction recovery resource center.
What Is A Physical Dependence?
According to WebMD, one-third of Americans suffer from chronic pain. Painkillers can be very effective in helping those people maintain an enjoyable quality of life.
Opiate-based painkillers, which are known as narcotics, can quickly lead to addiction. They interact with the neurotransmitters in your body that send and receive pain signals. These powerful drugs make you feel less pain. They also produce a sense of euphoria in most people.
Your brain changes as you continue to take the medication. Your body thinks that it doesn’t need to produce its own mood-enhancing chemicals anymore. When you don’t take the pills, you might feel even more pain than you did before.
Also, the reward center of your brain now associates pleasurable feelings with taking the medication. This alters your thinking patterns, making you reach for the pills even if you know that you might be developing a problem.
Eventually, your body and brain don’t know how to function without the drugs. Still, you may develop a tolerance, which makes you need more medication to feel its pain-reducing effects.
Signs Of Physical Dependence
Many people who take painkillers for a short time as directed by a doctor don’t develop a dependence. However, dependence and addiction can sneak up on you. Some signs that you’re reliant on the medication include:
- Preoccupation with taking the medication and making sure that you have enough
- Taking more than your doctor prescribes
- Getting drugs from sources other than your doctor or pharmacy
- Using the medication after the pain should have subsided
- Feeling defensive or angry if someone talks to you about it
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take the medication
How To Treat A Physical Dependence On Painkillers
One of the reasons that painkiller abuse has become such an epidemic is that the drugs affect parts of your brain that don’t respond to reason and logic. Even if you know that abusing drugs is a bad idea, you might fall into a cycle of abuse just because of the way the medication plays with your mind.
If you are worried that you’re becoming dependent on painkillers, North Carolina rehab centers can help. You’re not a weak or bad person if you’re having trouble managing the effects of powerful chemicals. When you seek treatment, you should be comfortable and ready to overcome your dependence on painkillers. That said, make sure you carefully research addiction recovery centers, so you end up at the one that works best for you.