Analgesics or painkillers are types of drugs which you use to relieve pain. As a result, you get analgesia or relief from pain is as the drug exudes its effects. They act on the peripheral and central nervous systems.
There are two major groups of analgesics. First, it is acetaminophen. Second, they are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). One of the most well-known acetaminophen painkillers is Tylenol. Meanwhile, Aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are OTC NSAIDs. Are there such things as painkillers overdose? Let’s investigate.
Can you overdose on painkillers?
It doesn’t matter whether one is taking painkillers to relieve mild or severe pain. There is a question that everyone asks. ‘Can you overdose on painkillers?’ No doubt, the resounding answer to this question is Yes. The doctor cautions the patient to follow the prescription rules. Also, they should report back in case side effects occur. This happens every time a doctor prescribes any type of pain killer. Some pain medications are opiate based (such as Fentanyl, Morphine, and Hydrocodone). Consequently, this means that there is a possibility of developing an addiction. Therefore, you might overdose on it. Are you a patient who often takes these drugs? Then, this is one of the reasons why you should be closely tracked by a doctor. Otherwise, a painkillers overdose might result.
How Does a Painkillers Overdose Occur?
How do painkillers work? Also, how do people develop addictions to them? Usually, the reward centers in the brain become activated. This is due to the actions between painkillers and certain opioid receptors. A continuous dopamine surge triggers this event. It results in a feeling of euphoria and well-being. Of course, these pleasant effects will wear off after some time. As a result, the users may find themselves increasing their dose. This way, they are able to achieve the same high. In other words, if the dosage keeps increasing, so does the patient’s tolerance to the medicine. At some point, the user’s body cannot take the overload of events. As a result, this leads to addiction and/or painkillers overdose.
What are the Signs of Painkillers Overdose?
Opioid-based painkillers overdose can show itself in:
- Constricted (pinpoint) pupils
- Loss of consciousness
- Depressed respiration (slowed breathing)
There three symptoms are also referred to as “opioid overdose triad”
Other overdose indicators are:
- Cold, clammy skin
- Lowered blood pressure (hypotension)
- Weak pulse
Various risk factors
First, you might want to ignore the doctor’s orders. Then, you will take matters into your own hand. However, when it comes to analgesic intake, this attitude can be very dangerous. This is because the outcome of many cases of painkillers overdose can be fatal. Various factors that can contribute to the severity of this type of situation are:
- Injecting or snorting the medication.
- Keep increasing your dose without proper care.
- Taking unknown doses.
- Taking fake opioids that other people may have laced with other drugs.
What to do if an overdose occurs?
Painkiller overdose can be a very dangerous situation. If not acted upon in time, it may claim the person’s life. First and foremost, are you the one who first notices the signs of a painkillers overdose? Then, you should check for the opioid overdose triad symptoms.
A few basic steps to save someone’s life:
- Immediately call 9-1-1.
- Check their breathing.
- Give them Naloxone—the opioid antagonist.
- Perform CPR in case breathing becomes very labored or ceases completely.
Analgesics abuse is a dire problem in today’s society. Many people have become careless to the awful outcomes of prescription drug abuse. As a result, some of them take pain killers for fun.
Are you thinking about starting a painkiller treatment? Sometimes, a patient might not know the addiction risks that come with taking these drugs. This is according to recent data. That is why it is important to seek medical advice before anything.
In the worst case scenario, an addiction or overdose does occur. Then, one should make sure to enter a rehab center. This is where they will provide the correct treatments. Notably, the detox process is not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, this is why the person will need all the emotional support they can get from their friends and family.
Do you suspect that someone is abusing painkillers? Do not hesitate to act immediately. Give them their best chance of recovery and keep encouraging them on their way to a better life.