Darvocet Addiction Effects
Darvocet is a prescription painkiller that is no longer available to new patients in the United States and Europe because of the risk of heart rhythm problems and fatal overdose. It is a partial synthetic, and it produces similar effects to other opioids such as codeine, Vicodin and OxyContin. Doctors once prescribed Darvocet to relieve pain and reduce cough, and it was also sometimes used as a local anesthetic.
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Manufacturers often combine Darvocet with acetaminophen in countries where the drug’s continued use is legal. Taking too much Darvocet, especially when combined with alcohol, is extremely dangerous and can cause overdose, liver toxicity and death.
The History of Darvocet
For thousands of years, cultures around the world have used the opium poppy to create several drugs. Some drugs, such as heroin, are illegal. Other drugs, such as morphine and codeine, are legal and commonly prescribed by medical professionals. Semi-synthetic drugs such as Darvocet, Vicodin and OxyContin contain some natural opium-based ingredients and some man-made ingredients. These partial synthetics belong to a class of drug called opioids, and they include natural narcotic painkillers (opiates). All opioids produce similar effects, although certain drugs are stronger and last longer than others.
For decades medical professionals prescribed Darvocet and its related brand Darvon for the relief of mild to moderate pain, cough and gastrointestinal problems. It was also used in the treatment of restless legs syndrome, and in some cases, for people attempting to withdraw from opiate addiction. Because Darvocet also contains acetaminophen, taking too much can cause liver poisoning and failure; this may surprise some who assume drugs such as Tylenol are safe to use every day. The narcotic component of Darvocet and Darvon is a central nervous system depressant.
Darvon and Darvocet have been linked to a higher than average suicide rate. The allegations began in 1978, when consumer safety groups waged a campaign against the drug’s manufacturer, Eli Lilly. The company was able to keep the drug on the market with the assertion that the drugs are safe when used as directed and not with alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration prohibited the sale of Darvocet and Darvon to new patients in 2010, however, ending a 32-year fight on the part of consumer safety groups that wanted the drugs removed from the market.
What to Know About Darvocet
Although many prescription analgesics (painkillers) come in a variety of forms, Darvocet and Darvon come in tablets and capsules when sold overseas. Like all opioids, Darvocet affects the chemical pathways in the brain that affect reward, pleasure, learning and memory. It forces the brain to release dopamine stores, which is the brain’s natural painkilling agent. Taking too much Darvocet causes an intense rush of dopamine through the body, and that creates the high associated with opioid addiction. Over time, however, the brain learns to depend more and more on the Darvocet to produce this important neurotransmitter. This dependency can easily end in Darvocet addiction.
Darvocet takes over how and when the brain releases dopamine. Because the perceived reward and pleasure resulting from Darvocet abuse are strong, the brain learns and remembers that Darvocet caused those good feelings. Soon, the brain stops managing dopamine itself. This is why a person who abuses Darvocet must take it in order to feel good. At the same time this chemical dependency develops, the brain also grows tolerant of its effects and taking more and more of the drug becomes necessary.
People who chronically abuse Darvocet and Darvon sometimes need to take huge amounts of drugs — amounts that would kill another person who doesn’t take any painkillers at all. Because Darvocet and Darvon also contain acetaminophen, there is a huge risk of liver poisoning as well. Many people who abuse partial synthetic drugs such as Darvocet and Vicodin actually die from liver toxicity instead of overdose. Nevertheless, mixing Darvocet with alcohol — another central nervous system depressant — is extremely dangerous and can cause fatal overdose.
The Physical and Psychological Effects of Darvocet
Narcotic painkillers are effective at reducing pain, cough and diarrhea. Darvocet also helps people with restless legs syndrome. These drugs, including Darvocet, also cause side effects that increase in severity with the level of abuse. Even those who take Darvocet exactly as prescribed will likely suffer certain effects. These effects usually include fatigue, difficulty thinking clearly, dizziness, constipation and nausea. Darvocet also slows heart rate and breathing, which is one of the reasons why taking too much can be fatal.
If someone you know is taking too much Darvocet and needs help quitting, you’ll notice the following symptoms:
- Nodding off to sleep at unusual times
- Extremely lethargic or confused behavior
- Blue-tinged skin or lips
- Lost consciousness with an irregular or slow pulse
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Intense anxiety and agitation when no Darvocet is available
- Intense flu-like withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, shakiness and muscle pain
Identifying Darvocet Addiction and Abuse
A person who struggles with substance abuse often becomes better and better at hiding the physical and emotional signs of abuse. If you haven’t noticed any physical symptoms, you may notice certain behavioral changes that have occurred over time. These often include:
- Shopping for doctors and pharmacies to get more than one prescription
- Keeping extra pills handy “just in case” running out becomes a problem
- Denying there is a problem, despite obvious lifestyle consequences
- Lying about how much and how frequently abuse takes place
- Acting high, and then acting agitated, angry or depressed
- Worsening problems with money, relationships, career or reputation
- Neglecting important responsibilities to get or use more drugs
- Switching to another painkiller such as Vicodin, OxyContin, codeine or even heroin
- Taking bigger than normal doses more frequently than prescribed
- Forgoing once-loved activities to get high instead
- Spending more time and resources on getting high
Darvocet Rehab and Recovery
Because Darvocet is difficult to find in the United States, a person who is abusing it may have secured the drugs via illegal means. They may also have been taking the drugs for a long period of time. Often, people who have problems quitting painkillers originally used them for legitimate reasons. Withdrawal symptoms are challenging, and cravings to use again are intense; for some, going back to taking drugs is easier than quitting. People who abuse painkillers often have underlying reasons they use drugs, and at 12 Keys Rehab, our staff can help you figure out and manage those reasons.
The staff at 12 Keys Rehab is well qualified to treat all aspects of addiction with compassion and expertise. Treatment process begins with medical detox, where we eliminate Darvocet toxins from the system and help make withdrawal symptoms more manageable. After detox, we develop a customized recovery program that addresses individual physical, psychological and lifestyle issues. This Recovery Model incorporates time-tested 12 Step care in addition to powerful evidence-based treatments and therapies. When care ends, clients continue their journey to recovery with an aftercare plan personalized to their specific lifestyle requirements.
If you suspect Darvocet addiction is a problem, call 12 Keys Rehab for more information and find your path to freedom, starting today.
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