10 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

The path to painkiller abuse has various starting points. Some individuals may begin taking these drugs for a real medical issue, like cancer-related pain, while others may begin abusing them without knowing how strong and addictive they can be. The truth is that addiction of any type does not discriminate and can potentially hit anyone. It does not matter how one starts using painkillers; somehow, they fall into addiction and don’t know how to get out of it.

However you arrived at painkiller addiction, there is a path of recovery waiting for you. Choosing an appropriate painkiller addiction program can offer you several options, from detox to rehabilitation and recovery. Regardless of whether you are abusing Percocet or OxyContin, help is available. There is no reason to continue suffering in pain and sickness anymore. While it is natural not to want pain, it is not natural to surrender your entire life to painkilling drugs. There is still hope for a life without needing to use these pills, and choosing a good treatment program is the key.

Painkillers Addiction Treatment Center

Just because a drug is prescription-only or available over the counter does not always mean it is safe to consume however you like. Painkillers have always enjoyed the right place in pharmaceutics and medicine but are unfortunately abused for their effects at the same time. Through repeated exposure to a potentially addictive painkiller, you can quickly build drug dependency, ultimately leading to addiction.

Painkiller addiction can affect an individual in multiple ways. As a disorder of the central nervous system, it includes compulsive drug-seeking behaviors despite acknowledging its adverse effects. Painkiller addiction can easily infiltrate all areas of your life, so it is crucial to timely identify and manage it.

Following are some common symptoms of painkiller addiction:

  • Changes in dose without approval from a doctor
  • Lying about the painkiller use
  • Always thinking about painkillers
  • Constantly watching the clock between doses
  • Neglecting appearance and self-hygiene
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Facing legal issues due to painkiller use
  • Poor professional or academic performance
  • Social withdrawal

Apart from the signs mentioned above, keep the following physical signs of painkiller addiction in mind:

  • Experiencing overwhelming cravings for painkillers
  • Experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking painkillers or are unable to access them
  • Constipation and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Itchiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pupil constriction
  • Respiratory problems
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Persistent flu-like symptoms
  • Exhaustion
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Altered sleep habits
  • Frequent chest infections
  • Hepatitis C or HIV due to sharing infected needles
  • Scratches, bruises, scabs, sores, scratches, or other types of skin damage due to injecting painkillers

Some of the above-mentioned physical signs can potentially prove fatal in the long run, especially if an individual does not seek help to address them.

Physically, a painkiller withdrawal is similar to a wrong class of flu with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sweating, diarrhea, chilling, stomach pain, runny nose, teary eyes, and muscle aches. Emotionally, such individuals are likely to feel depressed, anxious, agitated, and irritable, in addition to experiencing intense cravings for the painkiller. Most withdrawal symptoms begin within 12 hours after the last dose as the autonomic system that these sedative painkillers have suppressed begins to function hyperactively. As a result, things like heart rate, respiration, body temperature, and blood pressure may become irregular.

Joining a medical detox program is the ideal way to stop taking painkillers safely. The withdrawal symptoms that result from stopping a painkiller after forming a dependence can be extremely painful and uncomfortable; hence, experts advise individuals against quitting these drugs cold turkey. Instead, they can join a detox center and slowly taper off over a set period of time. This slow tapering allows their brain to re-stabilize and recovers itself. Sometimes, experts suggest using replacement medication to make withdrawal more bearable and effortless. For example, during the tapering process, they may replace certain short-acting opioid painkillers, like oxycodone, with longer-acting ones, like methadone.

The entire process of detox takes place under the 24/7 supervision of addiction specialists that continue to tailor the treatment to individual needs. As a part of detox, individuals also have access to a therapist responsible for meeting their emotional and psychological needs.

Detoxification and medication replacement are only a part of the answer to fight painkiller addiction treatment. While they can be excellent tools to process these drugs out of the body while achieving a safe physical balance, seeking additional help for handling the emotional aspects of drug dependence is equally essential. This is especially true since relapse is prevalent and potentially dangerous after detox. For this reason, experts may suggest enrolling in a formal treatment program to seek help from behavioral therapies and counseling sessions.

Behavioral therapies help patients learn how to manage cravings, identify and avoid potential triggers for relapse, and acquire healthy coping mechanisms to handle stress without resorting to painkiller use. All therapy and counseling sessions take place in both individual and group formats at any one of the following levels of care:

The residential addiction treatment program

This type of rehabilitation program best suits clients suffering from long-term or severe painkiller abuse. It promotes overall wellness and healing by tending to emotional and physical needs. For instance, therapy and counseling allow them to develop self-reliance while improving dynamic balance, while the nutritious meals and structured living onsite help them heal physically. Residential treatments also allow experts to monitor all clients closely while managing their individual needs and requirements in a better way.

The outpatient addiction treatment program

This type of program includes daily traveling to and fro from the rehab to the house and vice versa to receive therapy. It best suits clients who suffer from less severe addictions or the ones who have completed a residential program and require maintenance therapy to keep enjoying sobriety. Outpatient treatment can occur in a more intensely structured environment with long hours of therapy every day (called partial hospitalization programs) or less-intense programs (called intensive outpatient programs) with up to 3 days of treatment.

If someone you love is suffering from painkiller dependency, you may wish to talk to them about seeking treatment. As someone who deeply cares about them and who they care about, reaching out can potentially save their life. As you approach them regarding their addiction, make sure you show compassion while avoiding judgment or blame. While you may express your disapproval of painkiller use, keep showing your support for the person and encourage them to seek help.

Overcoming painkiller addiction is entirely possible. The process may feel overwhelming and daunting at the moment; however, your loved one can successfully quit it to live a healthy, drug-free life. Following are some strategies to encourage a loved one addicted to painkillers to seek help.

  • Encourage them to get an evaluation from a doctor. Most people trust the advice when it’s coming from a professional
  • Reassure them that medical treatment will be confidential and the law will protect their privacy. This will help alleviate any social pressure your loved one might face.
  • Lend them an ear and be willing to listen to their concerns and fears. Don’t forget to validate their emotions and offer them to note down any questions they may have about treatment. They can then refer to this list while talking to an expert regarding the potential painkiller addiction treatment.
  • Remind them that every person is unique and may react to treatment in a different way. Let them know that one approach may work for someone and fail for another. Hence, they may need to try other therapies until they find the one that works best for them.

In case you face difficulties communicating with the addicted person, you may consider using Community Reinforcement and Family Training or the CRAFT approach. The CRAFT model includes working closely with a professional to learn how to approach and talk to an addict about recovery. The therapy also teaches friends and family about moving forward with recovery without pushing people away or destroying relationships with them. The success rate of CRAFT is exceptionally high, with almost 7 out of 10 families benefitting from it.



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


a successful and proven concept focusing on underlying causes


0 Before

Send Admission Request

0 Before

Define Treatment Goals

1 week

Assessments & Detox

1-4 week

Psychological & Holistic Therapy

4 week

Family Therapy

5-8 week


12+ week

Refresher Visit

Painkiller Insights

latest news & research on Painkiller
A person holding a pill in their hand.
Painkiller Addiction

read more
Gabapentin withdrawal Symptoms
Gabapentin Withdrawal

Someone who has been taking gabapentin at a dose prescribed by a doctor and doesn’t have a history of substance abuse is less likely to develop any withdrawal upon cessation.

read more
A woman's reflection on the mirror she's holding with pills on it.
The Dangers of Abusing Co-codamol

Commonly used to treat toothache, migraines, and muscle pain, co-codamol is can be a highly effective medication to get instant relief

read more


British Psychology Society
Institute de terapia neural
pro mesotherapie
Somatic Experience


Woman & Home
National World
American Banker
Marie Claire
La Nacion
Metro UK
General Anzeiger
Live Science
Mallorca Magazin
Apartment Therapy
Express UK
Manager Magazin
Entrepreneur ME
Khaleej Times
Business Leader
The Guardian
Daily Mail
Mallorca Zeitung
Mirror Uk
The Times
The Standard
The Stylist