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Common Signs of Painkiller Abuse

Common Signs of Painkiller Abuse

Whether you’re concerned for a loved one who has started painkillers or plan on beginning them yourself, knowing how they can affect you means a decreased risk of forming an addiction. Learning the early signs of painkiller abuse is critical in preventing addiction.

Painkiller abuse affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year and regularly goes unnoticed by those closest to them. It can be a shameful ordeal to admit an addiction to painkillers, but it is significantly harder to leave your loved ones with the aftermath of an overdose. It’s one thing to identify the signs of painkiller abuse, but the process of treatment is daunting, especially on one’s own. Greater Boston Recovery Centers (GBAC) takes a progressive approach to drug addiction treatment centered around our focus on outpatient care.

We can help tackle the problem of painkiller abuse together. For those searching for prescription drug rehab in Boston, GBAC encourages you to trust us with your recovery. Call today at 877.920.6583 to learn more.

How to Spot Painkiller Abuse Before it Starts

Painkiller overdoses account for over half of the total overdose deaths in the United States. Identifying the signs of an existing painkiller addiction, or spotting the conditions under which one is likely to begin, is vital to saving lives. In most cases, those who become addicted to painkillers start with the ones they were prescribed. Usually, these prescriptions are for chronic pain (something that 1 in 5 Americans struggle with) and come with a set of strings attached: a limited dose for a limited amount of time. This is a measure by pharmacists to prevent patients from forming a reliance on the drug, but it fails to account for one problem: the continued pain following the prescription window.

Often, these are two to three weeks long, but many patients’ chronic pain lasts from months to a lifetime. Even if they haven’t become addicted, patients often feel reasonably entitled to continued pain relief after the prescription. Cases like these are the earliest warning of a painkiller addiction on the horizon—people, depending on several personal factors (propensity for addiction, severity of pain), may try to extend their period of pain relief by illicit means. Sometimes, it’s falsifying prescriptions to receive more of the same drug. Other times, they may escalate to a harder painkiller, which is more likely to result in an overdose.

Types of Commonly Abused Painkillers

Determining which painkillers are being taken or prescribed can give some insight into the addiction factor, as well as the symptoms of excess intake.

Opioids make up most of the commonly abused painkillers, given their market prevalence, effectiveness, and availability on second-hand markets. Opioids are synthetic drugs that treat pain by numbing neural connections responsible for pain signals. They are effective and have seen increased use over the last few decades, but that increased use comes at the cost of higher overdose deaths.


  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Heroin

Benzodiazepines, otherwise known as benzos, are also at a high risk of abuse. Instead of numbing the parts of the brain responsible for pain, benzos are sedatives that reduce anxiety and pain.

Because of their sedative nature, those taking benzos may find the sense of sedation enjoyable and hard to quit. It should be noted that mixing opioids and benzos can lead to a significantly higher risk of death than a similar quantity of one.

Benzodiazepines (Benzos)

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)

Receive Drug Addiction Treatment at Greater Boston Addiction Centers

Painkiller addiction is preventable, but what if it’s already well underway? Getting off painkillers safely without professional help is exceedingly difficult. Opioids are extremely addictive, and the health risks of quitting without medical supervision can be severe or life-threatening. Medical detox is the safest way to ensure a steady, monitored reduction of painkillers from the system.

If you’re searching for a prescription drug rehab in Boston, Massachusetts, Greater Boston Addiction Centers specializes in outpatient detox programs for drug addiction. Call us at 877.920.6583 today or contact us online to find out why our program leads to lasting, meaningful recovery and whether we’re the right addiction treatment center for your situation.