Pain Pill Categories
Pain medication comes in several different categories. The following list includes some of the most common types of pills that one might take to relieve pain.
- Over the Counter (OTC) medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen
- Narcotics or Opioids
- Muscle Relaxers, which work by easing extreme muscle tension
- Anti-Anxiety Medications, which also relieve pain that may be caused by tension
Over the counter pills are so called because one can purchase them “over” the pharmacy counter. They do not require a prescription because they are relatively safe and generally non-habit forming. These types of pain pills provide relief for milder pains such as headaches, normal menstrual cramps, and mild sprains. Muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety medications work for pain by encouraging muscles to relax. Some types of pain are either caused or exacerbated by muscle tension, and the kind of release brought by muscle relaxers can provide relief. Narcotics, otherwise called opioids, are some of the strongest pain medication options on the market. In the US, these are only available by prescription, and they are generally prescribed after a surgery or major injury.
“Pain medications are drugs used to relieve discomfort associated with disease, injury, or surgery. Because the pain process is complex, there are many types of drugs that provide relief by acting through a variety of physiological mechanisms.”
What They Have in Common
These varying types of pain medication all work in different parts of the brain and body to relieve all sorts of pain. The appropriate type of pain pill will vary depending on the individual and his or her source of pain. One thing that these medicines have in common, however, is that they are generally not meant to be long-term solutions. Rather, these pain pills exist to provide relief only until the individual can live comfortably without them. There are exceptions of course. In the case of long-term pain disorders such as fibromyalgia or arthritis, the individual may need to take a regular dosage of pain medication over the course of many years or even over a lifetime. In most cases, however, pain pill usage should be temporary, not permanent.
Have you become addicted to opioids or other pain pills? Call 800-492-QUIT today.
The Biggest Difference
Among all the above-mentioned types of pain pills, opioids stand out as the most dangerous. Opioids are one of the most addictive types of medications available.
Every day in the United States, 115 people die of opioid overdose.
Most opioid addictions don’t begin with recreational use. They generally begin with a legitimate prescription for real pain. The problem with opioids is that one can easily develop a dependence, meaning that instead of accepting short-term relief, people can very quickly start to depend on the medication to feel “okay” or “normal.”
As previously mentioned, opioids are extremely addictive substances. Whether taken legitimately or illicitly, opioids always flood the brain with large amounts of dopamine, the brain’s main “feel-good” chemical. Those who take opioid pain pills recreationally do so because of the euphoric “high” feeling that the pills produce. With each dose of pain pills, an individual becomes more and more dependent on that feeling. Eventually, the brain responds to the excess dopamine by dulling its own dopamine receptors. It starts to rely on the large amounts of dopamine that the pain pills bring. Any normal amount simply won’t produce the same effect.
Why are so many people addicted?
In the late 1990s, doctors had no idea that opioids were so addictive, so they prescribed the pills in droves to provide their patients with pain relief. In the mid-2000s when doctors began to realize that opioids are, in fact, addictive, America was already knee-deep in what many are calling the “opioid epidemic.” People who were prescribed pain pills without sufficient warning about their addictive properties soon became dependent on the pills.
Are Pain Pills Dangerous?
The short answer is yes. Of course, when one takes pain medication for a short period of time under medical supervision, pain pill consumption can be relatively safe. When addiction develops, however, so does the risk of overdose. Pain pill overdose can slow down a person’s heart rate until it stops completely. It can also slow a person’s breathing until the brain is deprived of oxygen, which will also lead to death. Furthermore, a percentage of those who abuse prescription pain medication eventually turn to heroin, a cheaper and much more dangerous drug.
You Can Get Help
If you are struggling under the grip of a pain pill addiction, please understand that there is hope for recovery. Healing from an addiction will require help and support.
At Rehabinfo.com, we’re here to help you find that support. In addition to providing information about drugs and alcohol, we also offer a support network that can help you find the drug treatment program that will match your needs and your financial situation.