Pain Pill Addiction: Getting Off Pain Pills

3 Jul


As shown in a recent US government report showing a 4-fold increase in drug treatment admissions for prescription drug abuse, pain pill addiction is a very real problem.

When you take into consideration that millions and millions of these pills are manufactured and distributed each year, it’s no shock that many are diverted to the black market where they sell anywhere from a couple of dollars to $40 a pilll. Inevitable you’ll see addiction problems arise with this kind of availability and prices – not to mention individuals who find themselves innocently dependent only after following their doctors instructions for taking their prescription meds.

Frankly, addiction is hell and in this article I want to look at some commonly abused/addictive painkillers and explain what treatment looks like so you can get an idea of what help looks like.

Commonly Abused Painkillers

Commonly abused pain pills include:

  • Percocet
  • Oxycontin
  • Vicodin
  • Percodan
  • Oxycodone
  • Darvocet
  • Hydrocodone
  • Demerol
  • Codeine

Note: some of these brands/types/substances are a type of another substance. For instance, oxycodone is the substance in percocet, percodan, and oxycontin pills.

Pain Pill Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms and signs associated with addiction to pain killers are varied. Addiction can be seen as sliding scale of behaviors, not a pure litmus test. However, a good indication of being addicted to pain pills or having what’s known as “opiod dependence” is to look at the following behaviors. Treatment centers consider it a positive sign for addiction / dependence if 3 or more of the following are applicable.

  • Individual must take more of the drug to obtain the same effect.
  • Individual experiences withdrawal symptoms following cessation of substance.
  • Individual consistently takes more pills then he or she plans to take.
  • Individual desires to quit but is unsuccessful in doing.
  • Individual dedicates a lot of time and resources in obtaining more pills.
  • Individuals use of pills interferes with job, school, or friends.
  • Individual still uses pills despite it interfering negatively in their life.


Treatment Options: Suboxone

Treatment for pain pill addiction often involves being prescribed a drug called buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone.

A typical look at how treatment works with suboxone looks like this:

  • In the beginning withdrawal stages, a patient meets with a doctor who will give him or her suboxone.
  • At this time, the suboxone will bind to the receptors in the brain that previously would have been binded with the pain killer being used.
  • Traditional counseling is typically included during the time of treatment as well.
  • Over the next few weeks, the doctor will monitor your progress, health, and how you feel. Dosage will be adjusted accordingly.
  • At the discretion of your doctor, he or she will then taper your dosage so that eventually you are not taking suboxone and you are free of opoid dependence.

Suboxone Side Effects

Note that while suboxone, a patient may experience the following side effects:

  • Body Chills
  • Constipation / Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness / Trouble Sleeping
  • Stomach Pain / Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Flushing / Redness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Burning
  • Numbnesss
  • Mouth / Tongue Tingles
  • General Pain / Weakness

Getting Help and Treatment

Getting off pain killers is going to require going to a doctor and seeking professional drug treatment. Going at it alone is likely to only perpetuate the problem and result in relapse. If you feel you are dealing with a pain pill addiction problem, realistically you will need to work with a drug addiction treatment program.



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