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Long-Term Effects of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

a woman sitting on her couch thinking about the long-term effects of prescription painkiller abuse

If you have ever dealt with intense chronic pain after an injury or surgery, you know that over-the-counter pain relievers may not provide relief. Prescription painkillers may be the only solution that works for severe pain. However, you must use them with caution as they can be highly addictive. On top of that, they can cause damage to your mental and physical health, particularly when used long-term. To help protect yourself from the long-term effects of painkiller abuse, enroll in painkiller addiction treatment in Youngstown, OH.

Midwest Center at Youngstown has the painkiller rehab you need when addiction starts harming your health and well-being. We can help you break free from dependence on painkillers and nourish you back to health with our holistic and behavioral therapies. Call us today at 844.544.0502 to learn more about our comprehensive painkiller addiction treatment program.

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Painkiller Abuse?

The short-term side effects of painkiller abuse will subside after a person has discontinued using the drug and has made it through the entire withdrawal process. However, there are long-term side effects that can have a more serious impact on your health. If you continue abusing painkillers for a lengthy period, you put yourself at risk for addiction, overdose, coma, or death.

Long-term prescription painkiller abuse can cause permanent damage to your body. Some of the organs and systems that are impacted by using prescription painkillers over a long stretch include:

  • The brain – If you overdose on opioids or experience drastically slowed breathing, your brain may not get enough oxygen, leading to brain damage. There may also be a loss of memory, balance, and coordination. Some people even develop opioid-induced hyperalgesia, increased sensitivity to pain.
  • Cardiovascular system – Opioids are depressant drugs that can slow down your heart’s natural rhythm. Their use can put you at a higher risk of hypotension (low blood pressure) and heart failure. You may also experience a heart arrhythmia that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
  • Gastrointestinal system – One of the most common GI side effects of long-term opioid use is constipation. Some people also develop opioid-induced bowel dysfunction, which involves indigestion, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and pain.
  • The liver and kidneys – Chronic opioid use can lead to liver and kidney toxicity and long-term damage.
  • The veins – Some people crush and snort prescription painkillers to get a more intense high, leading to collapsed veins. Long-term opioid use can also increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be potentially fatal.

In addition to the impacts on your physical health, long-term painkiller abuse can also affect your mental health. Many people struggle with anxiety and depression as a result of painkiller addiction.

Recognizing the Side Effects of Painkiller Addiction

One of the best ways you can protect yourself or someone you care about from the long-term side effects of painkiller abuse is to be aware of the signs of painkiller addiction. The earlier you notice the side effects of painkiller abuse, the sooner you can get help for yourself or someone else. Early intervention is the key to preventing the long-term effects of prescription painkiller abuse. 

If someone is abusing painkillers, you may notice some of the following side effects:

  • Frequently appearing drowsy
  • Unable to remain focused
  • Nodding in and out of consciousness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Moving slowly 

If you suspect someone is engaging in painkiller abuse and exhibiting the above signs, you should encourage them to get painkiller addiction treatment before they experience long-term damage to their health.

Heal at Midwest Center at Youngstown

With painkiller rehab at Midwest Center at Youngstown, you can start the healing process and prevent further damage from painkiller addiction. Reach out to us today at 844.544.0502 to stop harming your mind and body and begin the recovery process.