Demerol is a powerful opioid painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is used most frequently in clinical settings and only for short-term use largely because of its potential to cause addiction, toxicity and serotonin syndrome. When abused, Demerol produces numerous adverse effects typical to the opioid class, including overdose and death.
What to Know About Opioids
Demerol belongs to the opioid drug class, which includes powerful prescription analgesics such as morphine and dangerous illegal drugs such as heroin. Opioids derive their painkilling powers from the opium poppy, and cultures around the world have used them for thousands of years. Although opiates are all natural painkillers - common opiates include drugs such as heroin, morphine and codeine - opioids include both opiate-based drugs and manmade ingredients. All opioid drugs are central nervous system depressants that slow heart rate and breathing. They also control coughing and reduce diarrhea.
Not all opioids are created for the same purposes and with the same strength, however, and Demerol is among the strongest of the painkillers. Also known as meperidine, it should only be used for short periods of time and never with alcohol or certain antidepressants. The drug is so powerful that it is usually only used in clinical settings or when managing severe pain. In the past, obstetricians used Demerol to treat the pain symptoms of labor and delivery, a practice largely discontinued because of the potential risk to the fetus.
What to Know About Demerol
Demerol comes in a wide variety of forms. People can drink it in a syrup or take it in pill form. Injectable Demerol is more common in hospitals and other clinical settings. In the brain, Demerol overrides the brain's management of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a powerful chemical that makes people feel good; it also kills pain in large amounts. Demerol releases the brain's stores of dopamine and causes an intense rush when abused. Unfortunately, because Demerol affects the brain's ability to learn, remember and perceive pleasure, dependency and addiction are huge risks.
As a person begins abusing Demerol, the brain stops releasing dopamine on its own because it has learned the drug can do the job faster and more effectively. Unfortunately, as this dependency grows, tolerance develops. That means taking more and more is necessary to achieve the same effects. Demerol causes dependency and tolerance quickly, which means addiction happens faster. When the person decides to quit taking Demerol, intense physical and psychological symptoms begin. This challenging withdrawal often forces the addict back into Demerol addiction and abuse.
The Physical and Psychological Effects of Demerol
Even people who take Demerol exactly as prescribed will observe several uncomfortable side effects. As a CNS depressant, Demerol makes clear thinking difficult. Excess sleepiness, dizziness and nausea often occur, as does constipation. Taking too much Demerol and combining Demerol with another substance such as alcohol is extremely dangerous. Fatal overdose can result, so if you observe symptoms of abuse or addiction, the time to get help is now.
Common Demerol abuse and addiction effects include:
- Frequently losing consciousness or falling asleep at unusual times
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Lethargy and excessive sleeping
- Bluish nails, skin or lips
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Becoming anxious or irritable without Demerol
- Withdrawal symptoms onset, which may appear like a severe case of the flu
Identifying Demerol Abuse
It isn't always easy to identify a person with a substance abuse problem. Denial is common, and it often worsens as the addiction intensifies - even when lifestyle problems become obvious to others. People who abuse drugs are also experts at hiding and lying about how much they use.
There are other ways to assess a potential Demerol addiction problem, however. If substance abuse is a problem, you may notice:
Frequent trips to the emergency room for serious pain, and requests to get Demerol to help
Getting more than one Demerol prescription from more than one doctor and filling them at multiple pharmacies
Claiming that a Demerol prescription was lost, or lying about how much Demerol was taken
Combining Demerol with another substance to get a stronger or faster high
Periods of deep relaxation followed by periods of irritability and anxiety
Lost motivation at work or at school
Neglecting important responsibilities in favor of getting high
Using another drug, such as heroin, when Demerol is unavailable
Spending less time with favorite friends or on favorite activities
Stealing and spending more time trying to get drugs
If these symptoms sound familiar, it's time to call 12 Keys Rehab.
Demerol Rehab and Recovery
Demerol is a dangerously addictive drug that produces intense withdrawal symptoms and cravings to relapse. Without help, quitting Demerol is challenging and relapse is likely. The good news is that at 12 Keys Rehab, we help people recover from opioid addiction every day. We are well qualified to diagnose and treat the physical, psychological and spiritual effects of substance abuse. We see miracles every day at 12 Keys Rehab, even when rehab has been tried before.
Our staff uses medically assisted detox to help our clients feel more comfortable during early sobriety. We then design individualized treatment plans that address the full spectrum of healing. This may include the diagnosis and treatment of a mental health disorder such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder. We also incorporate 12 Step care into every client's program because it is the best and most successful spiritual healing practice known to addiction rehabilitation. Once care ends, our staff continues to assist our clients on the path to sobriety with a customized aftercare program that addresses specific lifestyle needs.
From evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral and neurofeedback to the spiritual healing offered by the 12 Steps, 12 Keys Rehab is an enjoyable and successful place to rebuild a lifestyle that is out of control. You don't have to let an Demerol addiction define your future - you can heal, and you can start now. Call us today for a free and confidential evaluation, and let 12 Keys Rehab help you find your path to freedom.
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