According to a recent study, the incidence of chronic pain in the UK has risen astoundingly to 43 percent. That means 28 million people in the UK suffer from some sort of chronic pain. Whether this severe or chronic pain is related to underlying diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia, or other health problems such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, stomach ulcers, AIDS, or gallbladder disease, living with pain obviously diminishes the quality of life.
Unfortunately, in recent decades there has been an increasing frequency of prescription misuse that has led to opioid use disorder and cases of overdose resulting from abuse of opioid painkillers. For those suffering, it is important to know that there is help available for this addiction; from medication to behavioral therapy, detox programs to rehab centers like Arista Recovery, there are recovery options for everyone. Below, we will look at some of the dangers associated with the abuse of opioid painkillers and then look at ways to lower the risk of addiction and misuse through properly utilizing these medicines as prescribed by medical professionals.
Dangers of Opioid Painkiller Addiction
Across the Atlantic, the United States has long endured an opioid addiction crisis that has risen to exorbitant and epidemic levels. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the US government estimates that 115 Americans die each and every day due to addiction and abuse of opioids, including prescription strength painkillers.
In the UK, however, the high percentage of people suffering from chronic pain is considered by many to point towards a looming crisis of opioid addiction and abuse. Recent data released by the Office for National Statistics shows that fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used to treat the terminally ill suffering from severe pain, has increased 29 percent in one year. Furthermore, tramadol, another strong opioid painkiller is considered to have been responsible for close to 250 deaths in 2014 alone.
Other studies have found that opioid painkiller prescription has doubled over the last decade, and over two million people in the UK have reportedly taken a painkiller medication that was prescribed for another person. Signs of abuse and addiction to opioids include taking the prescription for longer than prescribed, abusing the medicine differently than prescribed, taking opioids that weren’t prescribed to you, or experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you stop taking a painkiller.
Opioid painkillers can certainly be an important part of a treatment plan for patients suffering from severe pain. Usually, they are used as a temporary measure to reduce severe pain and are thus an effective medication to help people recover from surgical procedures or other medical conditions where severe pain is momentarily present.
Unfortunately, the strong sedative properties of opioid painkillers makes them a target for abuse and addiction. Opioid medicines depress the central nervous system and have the ability to mimic the natural endorphins released by your brain, thus relieving pain and inducing pleasure. In most cases, opioid painkillers are not recommended for treating chronic pain as this can lead to dependency and an addiction to the painkiller that can be hard to overcome.
However, when taken as prescribed by a GP, opioid painkillers can be an important medicine to help you overcome the temporary pain that you might be experiencing. Most physicians will prescribe opioid painkillers at the lowest possible dosage for the shortest amount of time. If you continue to suffer from severe pain after that initial dosage, your GP will reevaluate your condition and will decide whether or not it is recommendable to continue with your current pain treatment, switch to another medicine alternative, or change the treatment all together.
In this situation and when taken as prescribed, there is very low possibility of suffering from any sort of addiction or adverse effects associated with taking prescription strength opioid painkillers. Furthermore, if you do experience any sort of unexpected side effect, your GP can prescribe naloxone to reverse or counter any side effects you might experience. For people who are worried about potential addiction to opioid painkillers, your GP or pharmacist might recommend prescribing naloxone together with the opioid painkiller you are given.
While abuse and addiction to opioid painkillers is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the world, responsible use of painkillers is an important strategy to help people suffering from different types of severe pain. You can use a trusted online pharmacy to find the best opioid painkillers to responsibly deal with short-term pain you might be suffering.