Demerol is a narcotic painkiller that is used for moderate to severe pain. It is normally used in labor and childbirth, but is also used in cases of cancer, heart attacks, severe accidents, and other medical traumas. Demerol is almost always exclusively used in a hospital setting because it is such a dangerous opioid narcotic. This drug works on the body’s central nervous system to suppress it’s perception of pain. The drug can be used for non-medical purposes because of the side-effects. Demerol can cause feelings of pleasure and giddiness. Like other opioids, this drug has the ability to become addictive and has a high risk for abuse. It should only be used in dire situations and when prescribed in a medical facility by a professional.

Demerol Use/Abuse Symptoms

The symptoms of Demerol use and abuse will depend on the individual. Each individual’s response to the drug is different and will be determined on their specific situations. The genetic make-up, level of addiction, length of abuse, frequency of use, and dosages will determine the amount and degree of symptoms visible. Demerol users often experience: depression, intense mood swings, unremitting anxiety, impulsiveness, agitation, and irritability. They can also express: drug-seeking behaviors, nodding out, forging prescriptions, cravings for the drug, increased dosages, doctor-shopping, lying about how much they are using, stealing, borrowing money, lying, cheating, taking other prescriptions, stashing the drug in various places, withdrawing from previous activities, and neglecting responsibilities. The abuser can also exhibit: difficulties breathing, dry mouth, headache, liver problems, pruritus, nausea and vomiting, hypotension, sedation, constipation, kidney problems, dizziness, disorientation, sweating, seizures, coma, heart attack, stroke, and death. They can also show signs of: exacerbation of symptoms of mental illness, worsening depression, hallucinations, delusion, and psychosis.

Cause of Abuse and Addiction

This drug is an opioid narcotic, which means that it uses opiates to suppress pain in the central nervous system. Demerol acts on the opioid receptors in the brain by increasing dopamine in the reward center of the brain. Individuals taking the drug feel increased sensations of pleasure, euphoria, and giddiness. This sensation, while it takes away the pain in those suffering major traumas, also causes them great feelings of pleasure. This feeling of pleasure can be incredibly addicting. Opioid drugs are very dangerous because they increase pleasure and decrease the body’s natural function of creating pleasure. It is also a zero sum practice as well, meaning that the more an individual takes the less they feel the euphoria or pleasure from their first experience. As they increase dosages or frequency of taking the drugs they reduce the ‘high’ they achieve; never getting to that original sensation for which they strive.

Demerol abusers and addicts enter their journey to these stages for various reasons. Some experience physical traumas that require pain relief at a medical facility. They are on this medical for that trauma, but develop a tolerance and ‘need’ for it. Others experiment with the drug, normally on a progressive stage starting with weaker forms of opioids, and develop dependencies. As they continue to use and abuse the drug their bodies become use to the drug and require more and more to achieve the sensations they desire.

Addiction to opioids can be caused by various reasons, like other drug addictions genetics, brain chemistry, environment, and psychological factors all play a role. Research has shown that individuals who have a family history of addiction to opioids are more likely to develop an addiction to drugs like Demerol. There are some that are born with deficiencies in the reward center of the brain. In these cases, they rely on the drug to achieve the sensations that are not naturally created. Those that grow up in a home where substance abuse is present are much more likely to develop an addiction to drugs; and/or alcohol. A common cause for Demerol (and other substance) abuses are psychological problems; most undiagnosed. Individuals suffering from untreated anxiety, depression, or other mental disorders are much more likely to develop addictions to drugs like Demerol. Those suffering from mental illnesses are more likely to self-medicate their issues with opioids, which can easily develop into addiction.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Dual diagnosis drug treatment is a system of drug treatment that treats drug addiction in conjunction with other mental illnesses. Taking prescription opioids to treat a pain problem can lead to mental illness and addiction; just like mental illnesses can cause addiction. Many of those individuals, who become addicted to prescription opioids like Demerol, have co-occurring disorders that have been undiagnosed or untreated. The most common co-occurring mental illnesses that can cause or be created from Demerol abuse are: depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, other substance addiction, and/or alcoholism.

Effects of Demerol Addiction

The effects of Demerol addiction are reliant on the dose and length of time it is abused. They can range from mild to extremely severe and will vary from individual to individual. The most common effects of Demerol addiction are: job loss, addiction, domestic and child abuse, divorce, social isolation, worsening physical and emotional wellbeing, overdose, suicidal thoughts, coma, and death. Withdrawal is the event that takes place within the body when an individual suddenly stops taking a drug. Demerol, an opioid narcotic, has severe withdrawal effects. Many individuals abusing strong opioids, like Demerol, are unable to stop abusing the drug without professional help because the withdrawal effects are severe and painful. Withdrawal effects of Demerol abuse include: bone and muscle pain, tremors, anxiety and agitation, fever and chills, diarrhea and vomiting, insomnia, restlessness and irritability, and relapse.

Prescription Opioid abuse

Today opioids are abused regularly. There are approximately 2 million Americans addicted to prescription opiates in the United States alone, according to the World health Organization. Drug and alcohol problems that have been diagnosed by U.S. doctors have increased by 70% between 2001 and 2009. This is hypothesized to be from the increase in prescription drug medication available. Besides prescription opiates, heroin is the most commonly abused illegal opiate. 52 million people have been estimated of abusing prescription medication at least once in their lifetime. About 1 in 20 high school students reported abusing OxyContin. Total number of U.S. opiate prescription depended rose from 76 million to 210 million from 1991 o 2010. 50% of all major crimes in the Nation have been linked to opiate abuse. Reports have indicated that nearly two-thirds of people in opiate abuse treatment have been sexually abused as children. Young adults have the largest number of opiate abuse.

Getting Help

The United States is currently dealing with the worst outbreak of opioid abuse in its history. Getting help for opiate abuse is not hard, but overcoming addiction is a lifelong task, but one that starts with one conversation. The hardest part of overcoming addiction is the first step of admitting and understanding that you have an addiction. Speaking with a professional can help addicts and their loved ones plan out a road to recovery. There are thousands of treatment facilities across the country and some are designated for opioid abuse. Calling an informational hotline can help addicts begin their road to recovery. It is important that they seek professional help that includes dual diagnosis treatment. This treatment has been shown to provide the most effective strategy for helping opiate addicts overcome addiction and maintain sobriety for the long term.