Pain Pill Addiction – Physical Dependence Verses Psychological Addiction

Janelle CoultonStarred Page By Janelle Coulton, 15th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Addiction

Addiction to pain pills is chronic in society these days; however in some cases the pain pill user might be dependent or addicted or both. How do you tell the difference?

Tolerance To Pain-Killing Drugs

When you are in severe pain it is necessary sometimes to take narcotic drugs for relief. Usually an opiate based pain killer is prescribed for chronic pain, as these drugs are usually the most effective in stopping pain.

These drugs are very addictive and can be dangerous for some people as they can become used to the dose and need more of the drug to stop the pain. They are also prone to abuse, because they can give the same kind of high that one may get from heroin. In high doses they can induce feelings of euphoria; they are also physically addictive too. Once you build a tolerance to the drug, withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop using the drugs.

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Dependence or Addiction?

Any use of pain medication, particularly opiate bases drugs will result in dependence of some degree, and the same applies to addiction. If you take the drug regularly your chances of becoming addicted are very high.

The difference between dependence and addiction is substantial. You will need to get a handle on whether you are addicted or dependent on this drug. Your body will be accustomed to the regular effects of the drugs, and when you stop them it will feel pretty awful. Quitting your pain-killers cold turkey will shock your body, and can cause certain symptoms of withdrawal. Some people who take pain pills but do not abuse them are not addicted – but their bodies have quite likely become dependent on this drug.

Addiction is a Different Beast.

Given that these medications cause the patient to feel high, some will abuse their drugs and take more than the prescribed dose. This is not about the pain; it is usually an addiction to the high the drug gives them. This is abuse. When a patient abuses their pain medication the risk of becoming addicted is higher. Even if the abuse or increase of the dose is about curing the pain, patients will experience the high feeling and some become severely addicted to that. The body is dependent on the effect the drug gives, but the mind is addicted to the high.


For someone who is dependent on the drug in a physical sense can taper off their dose under a doctor’s supervision. Most patients will be able to dose down gradually until the drug is out of their system. Stopping cold turkey is never safe, and should not be attempted unless under the supervision of medical professionals. Some patients who try this have died, so it is a risk not worth taking.

For a patient who is dependent and addicted it is harder to break free from this destructive habit. Most go through hell trying to get off this drug and need specialised help; fixing the physical addiction is usually the easy part, even though it can be hard on the patient. The psychological issues that go along with addiction can take years to cure and an addicted opiate user will need to attend Narcotic’s Anonymous meeting for a long time.

If you would like more information about opiate painkillers, you can read more here.

More by Janelle Coulton:

When Selfish People Pair Up

Deceitful People

Photo Credit: Flickr

Copyright © 2013 Janelle Coulton - This article may not be reproduced or republished without the express permission from the author in writing. A shortened version of this article may be republished or quoted as a reference with a link back to the original article.


Addictions, Beating Addiction, Dependence, Drugs, Pain Killers, Recovery

Meet the author

author avatar Janelle Coulton
Writing & drawing are my first loves. I draw animals, mostly horses. I am working on many projects. I have an Ebay, Etsy and Facebook account where I plan to sell my work.

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