Some physicians prescribe more opioids for certain medical conditions and for longer durations compared to others. Paradoxically, the indiscriminate abuse of painkillers instead of providing a permanent cure has been found to increase the severity of the medical condition or cause unwanted side effects – the commonest being drug abuse, dependency, and addiction.
Some of the disorders where painkillers are prescribed routinely ignoring the harmful consequences are listed below.
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Sleep Apnea: Sleep disorders like sleep apnea are common occurrences in the United States, with an estimated 22 million Americans living with the condition. It is also estimated that a further 80 percent of instances of moderate or severe sleep apnea are undiagnosed. During sleep apnea, the individual suffers from pauses in the intake of breath.
As the sleep cycle suffers from repeated interruption, the individual ends up feeling fatigued during the day. In many instances, people suffering from the condition are prescribed prescription painkillers to combat anxiety and pain.
However, studies have proved that these drugs only make the condition worse. In a letter published in the Cleveland Journal of Medicine, author Aaron Geller points out the risks of opioid consumption. It caused the cessation of breathing, ultimately resulting in death. It also increased the number of episodes of obstructive and central sleep apnea per hour, as a result, people were more likely to die in their sleep.
Anxiety: Sadly, while people with mood disorders and anxiety are more likely to abuse opioids, they are also the ones more likely to be prescribed these addictive medications for their pain and discomfort. Opioids, at best, can provide temporary relief from the pain. But they increase the risks of permanent damage to the brain manifold and up the risks of addiction.
Anxiety-prone individuals who have resorted to opioids are known to experiment with drugs such as heroin at a later stage. Some of the common ameliorative strategies for coping with anxiety include therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavioral modification strategies. In case of a comorbid disorder, which could arise after prolonged exposure to opioids, an integrated treatment module is considered worthwhile.