No child grows up aspiring to become addicted to drugs or as some calls a “drug addict”. An adult does not wake up one day and decides to become a slave to a bottle of pills or to an illegal substance. Nobody wants to tear apart his family, alienate his friends, fail at his job, struggle with pain and illness, and risk deadly overdoses on a daily basis.
Most people first take opiates initially to solve a short-term medical problem. They take prescription Dilaudid to relieve pain, for example. Others misuse opiates for recreational or non-medical use. A person might pop an OxyContin to make a dull party seem like more fun, or take a Vicodin to relax after experiencing a stressful day. There are so many reasons why that first experience with a certain drug, can be so attractive to an individual.
More than 2 million people in the United States have a substance abuse problem associated with opiate prescription painkillers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, with another estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin. Those are astonishing numbers, regarding drug abuse that we have never seen in our history.
So, if nobody wants to be addicted to opiates, why are so many people struggling with prescription painkiller addiction?
Who Becomes Addicted to Prescription Painkillers?
Some say that part of the answer lies in heredity – This theory is based on the idea that a person must first be genetically predisposed to addiction. While there is no single “addiction gene,” scientists believe a specific group of genes may make people in some families more vulnerable to developing addiction than are people of other families. These genetic differences allow prolonged drug use to make chemical changes within in the brain, leading to the cravings and drug-seeking behaviors that characterize addiction.
Fortunately, people are not born pre-programmed and genetically doomed to become addicted to drugs. Other factors influence the development of addiction, such as exposure to mind-altering substances – a person cannot be addicted to drugs if he never takes them.
Social tolerance to drug-abusing behaviors also plays a role in the development of opiate addiction. Many addicted adults grew up in homes where substance abuse was acceptable behavior. Positive images and mixed messages from the media and communities almost encourage drug abuse in some cases.
Mental illness has been reported to be a substantial factor in a large number of individuals suffering from painkiller addiction. Some of these cases are due to a lack of appropriate treatment or proper psychiatric diagnose.
Overall studies show that more males abuse prescription drugs including opioids than females in all age groups except for the very young, aged 12 to 17 years. Young adults aged 18 to 25 are the biggest abusers of prescription opiates and other drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Sadly, this rampant abuse causes devastating consequences, include addiction and overdose death.
Elderly people can become addicted to painkillers just as easily as younger people can. In fact, the older population may be at greater risk because seniors are more likely to suffer long-lasting and severe pain from injuries, such as falls, and chronic illnesses requiring prescription pain relief. Furthermore, in a sad way society is less likely to worry about the long-term health consequences of prescription painkillers in this older population. We believe that our seniors should receive at least if not more, the same amount of medical care and attention as our youngsters.
Painkiller addiction happens to people regardless of gender, age, socioeconomic background, race, or religion. Anyone can suffer the painful cravings and the devastating drug-seeking behaviors that are the hallmark of drug addiction.
Fortunately, medical detoxification and a variety of drug treatment modalities are available in the most humane and dignified manner we have seen in decades. If you or someone you love is addicted to painkillers, don’t allow it to take over your life more than it already has. Contact Waismann Method® for more information on medical drug detox, rapid drug detoxification and a number of treatment options suitable for each person specific needs.
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