Menu Close

Contact us now!

Come Together to Fight Addiction

What Types of Painkillers are Commonly Abused?

a person dumps one of many commonly abused painkillers into their hand

People across the United States take prescription painkillers every day. Commonly prescribed for post-surgery, chronic pain, or injury, prescription painkillers are some of the most common medications. Unfortunately, in many cases, prescription painkillers are as easy to abuse and become addicted to as illicit drugs. Painkiller addiction can happen to anyone. A painkiller abuse treatment program is the safest, most effective way to stop using painkillers and find alternative options for treating chronic pain.

If you or someone in your life is taking prescription painkillers, there are other options. At A Better State, we provide clients across New Hampshire with trauma-informed outpatient treatment for addiction and mental health, including painkiller abuse. Call us now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about comprehensive drug addiction treatments and the commonly abused painkillers.

Painkillers Commonly Abused

Many drug families, like opioids and benzos, are prescribed daily despite being highly addictive. No matter the type of drug, dosage, or diagnosis, any substance that alters brain chemistry can lead to addiction. Prescription drugs boost dopamine, causing a dopamine reward effect, which convinces the brain that it needs more of a drug to release more dopamine.

The brain naturally produces dopamine every day, causing feelings of motivation, joy, euphoria, and happiness. Synthetic drugs like opiates, benzos, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) release a sudden burst of dopamine in a much higher dose than the brain naturally makes. With continued drug use, the brain stops producing dopamine and relies on prescription dopamine. This is one of the leading causes of prescription drug addiction. Some commonly abused painkillers include:

  • Adderall
  • Ambien
  • Amytal
  • Codeine
  • Concerta
  • Darvocet
  • Dexedrine
  • Darvon
  • Demerol
  • Dilaudid
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Lorcet
  • Lortab
  • Lunesta
  • Luvox
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Opana
  • Oxycodone
  • Percocet
  • Paxil
  • Ritalin
  • Sonata
  • Strattera
  • Suboxone
  • Vicodin

The most common types of prescription painkillers are opiates and opioids. Opioid addiction can develop without prescription drug abuse. For some, taking medication as prescribed can lead to addiction and dependence. However, medication may lose its effect on others as the body builds tolerance.

High tolerance happens when the brain becomes accustomed to the current dosage and needs more to feel the same effects. This is especially common with prescription painkillers and benzos. Some people may begin crushing, snorting, taking more medication than prescribed, or combing pills and combining pills with alcohol to feel a more potent effect. Many people may start doctor shopping, visiting multiple doctors for multiple prescriptions of the same painkiller or benzo.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

Many prescription painkillers relieve mental and physical pain and discomfort. They also distort cognition, slow the nervous system, and make it hard for someone to focus. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell when regular prescription drug use becomes drug abuse. Some common signs for these types of painkillers include:

  • Memory loss
  • Speech problems
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Digestive issues, such as constipation
  • Bouts of dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Taking pills with alcohol
  • Mixing pills
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Self-harm

The more often someone takes a prescription painkiller, the more likely tolerance, abuse, and addiction will occur. Even when prescribed, it’s difficult to stop taking a prescription painkiller and transition to holistic pain management.

Discover the Types of Painkillers Commonly Abused at A Better State

If you or someone you love is worried about prescription painkiller use, we can help. With daytime and evening intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) or partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), our clinic makes painkiller abuse treatment accessible, no matter your schedule. Focusing on holistic, trauma-informed approaches to addiction and mental health, our clients truly get the support they need to recover. Contact A Better State now at 781.412.1488 to learn about the commonly abused painkillers and our programs.