Many people who suffer from chronic pain and discomfort seek prescription drugs to help them sustain their standard of living. As with most prescription drugs, those same individuals do not realize that they are susceptible to an addiction. Regular abuse of painkillers can lead users toward developing a tolerance to these drugs, and in the process, a building a physical dependence. Demerol is one of the most popular painkillers on the market and abuse of it has become a source of concern.
What is Demerol?
Demerol is an opioid prescription medicine primarily used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Also known as, Meperidine, Demerol is most commonly prescribed for post operation recovery. As an opioid pain reliever, Demerol works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and changing how the body responds to pain. Instead of feeling severe pain, users feel pleasure. Because opioid receptors of the brain are backlogged, the sensation of a “high” is created.
Demerol not only blocks sensations of pain, but also lowers stress by reducing functions of the central nervous system, such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Because a user is in a more relaxed or sedated state, those who suffer from anxiety tend to lose those sensations while on Demerol.
Demerol is available in pill, injectable and syrup forms. Considered a Schedule II substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it is under the highest level of control for a drug that is deemed acceptable in the United States. This also means that Demerol cannot legally be obtained without a prescription. However, several people abuse these regulations and purchase Demerol through street trades.
Signs of Demerol Use
Any person that takes Demerol for reasons other than those prescribed is said to be abusing the drug. While early stages of Demerol use can lead to temporary relief from chronic conditions, after a certain period, the tides will turn, and unintended side effects can result.
Signs of Demerol use can include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Excessive sweating
- Constant itching
- Dry mouth
- Nodding off
- Intense mood swings
Demerol Withdrawal Symptoms
Like most opioids, extended use of Demerol will cause the user to develop a physical dependence. As they continue to abuse the drug, it becomes less about the high they may experience, and more about the avoidance of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be rather painful and cause the user to suffer major discomfort. Symptoms of Demerol withdrawal are most likely to occur when a long-time user decides to cut back or completely quit cold turkey.
Demerol withdrawal symptoms can include the following:
- Runny nose and eyes
- Muscle aches
- Shortness of breath
- Elevated blood pressure
- Dry mouth
While some people may feel they can overcome Demerol (or any kind of opioid addiction) on their own, if experiencing any of these withdrawal symptoms, seeking professional help is your best chance at survival and recovery.
Treatment for Demerol Addiction
Detoxing is the process of cleansing the body of addictive substances, and is the first step in opioid addiction treatment. Under professional supervision, the goal of a Demerol detox is to eliminate the effects of the drug in both a safe and effective manner. Medically supervised detoxes can take as little as two days or as long as a couple of months.
A detox works by a professional administering an opioid substitute (like methadone) and then gradually reducing its dosage as the treatment process continues. By using an opioid substitute, a professional can closely control the amount used. This will result in the body losing its dependence on Demerol.
Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment
Inpatient and outpatient facilities are both great ways to get the proper help needed to take charge of one’s addiction and begin recovery. Inpatient residential rehab involves an extended stay within the treatment center where patients are monitored 24/7. Programs typically last 30-45 days, but may go longer depending on the patient’s needs. Patients are required to stay at the facility for the entirety of the course, both day and night. This is considered one of the most effective forms of care for drug rehabilitation. Outpatient care is a more modified version of inpatient care where the patient isn’t required to stay at the facility overnight. Patients come to the facility regularly for a few hours a week then leave after. This allows them to maintain work and school responsibilities. Outpatient treatment should be reserved for patients that don’t require around-the-clock care.
Behavioral therapies are some of the most useful ways to treat opioid addiction. Usually provided in both inpatient and outpatient facilities, patients can benefit from behavioral therapy sessions because it will help them learn new skills and methods of coping with stress and managing their emotions.
Some examples of behavioral therapies are Motivational interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Motivational interviewing is characterized by its non-judgmental approach and focuses on helping the user fully understand the need for a change in their mindset. This type of therapy also focuses on positive reinforcement and motivation.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on modifying the patterns of thought that lead a person to make negative decisions. For example, those who suffer from anger problems may have deep rooted self-esteem issues that leave them susceptible to destructive behaviors like drug abuse. Through this kind of behavioral therapy, a professional can help the user understand their own psychology and tackle those issues head on.
There are also some programs that involve family members and loved ones. These intensive programs aim to enhance communication skills within the family unit. Improved communication is one of the best and most effective ways for family members to help the addict find peace and continue a successful recovery even after their programs conclude.
If you or a loved on is struggling with an addiction to Demerol, don’t wait any further. Contact a treatment expert so that they can help you or your loved one find the right treatment program to help you break free of your addiction.