Substance abuse and drug addiction are leading problems in the United States today. It has grown to be a national issue, so much so that is being brought up in the upcoming presidential elections. There are a number of states and areas in the country that are being decimated by drug abuse and addiction. The constant battle with drugs, War on Drugs and government programs to reduce substance abuse and addiction continue to grow. Prescription drug use and abuse is at an all-time high. We are the most prescribed nation in the world, yet maintain less than 10% of the world’s population. We consume a large majority of the world’s opiates and it shows in the level of opiate abuse and addiction. Prescription drugs are seen as safe medications to take for extended periods of time or even safe alternatives for illegal drugs. Painkillers are the widely known to be highly addictive and cause a number of issues that are related to dependency. Paracetamol is a prescription drug that is use for mild to moderate pain.

Paracetamol: What is it?

Paracetamol is a drug in a class called analgesics, which are painkillers. This is an over the counter product that is more commonly known as acetaminophen or Tylenol. Most people are familiar with this drug and have it in their medicine cabinets at all times. The drug helps those suffering from headaches, migraines and mild muscle soreness. This drug is popular for those who suffer from stomach issues related to aspirin or ibuprofen. This drug can also cause serious problems if it is not taken as recommended or abused. Prolonged use of this drug can causes serious gastrointestinal and liver damage. This drug is also dangerous when it is used by someone who abuses alcohol. The damage to the liver can be irreversible. It can be used as a tablet, capsule, liquid or suppository. In some cases it can be administered by intravenous or intramuscular method.


Acetaminophen is the generic name for Tylenol, which falls into two classes of drugs: analgesics and antipyretics. Analgesics raise the body’s pain threshold by acting on the neurotransmitters in the brain that deal with pain and pleasure. This drug can cause adverse side effects in an individual, which can push them to seek them by misusing the drugs. Antipyretics are fever reducers, which tells the heat center of the body that the temperature is too high. These drugs are safe when used as prescribed, but when they are consumed for other purposes or in higher doses they dangerous.

Those suffering from more severe pain, illness or injury could be prescribed paracetamol that is combined with another opioid analgesic. These drugs are much stronger and therefore much more dangerous. These drugs have a high possibility for abuse and addiction. Percocet, Vicodin and Tylenol 3 are common drugs used to treat those with more serious issues. These drugs should be taken as prescribed and not for an extended period of time. If you or someone you know is prescribed drugs like these it is important to monitor the consumption of those drugs.

Side Effects and Other Issues of Using Paracetamol

Higher doses of this drug, especially when it is combined with stronger opioids, make this drug dangerous. Liver complications are the most common dangers of over-using these drugs, but death is possible if they are abused. Side effects of abusing this drug include: allergic reactions such as hives or rashes, swelling of the lips/tongue/throat/face, numbness, tingling sensations, mood changes, hallucinations, agitation, headache, light-headedness, shortness of breath, yellowing of eyes or skin, troubling urinating, dark urine, pale stools, tiredness, weakness or depression. If you or a loved one shows any of these signs paracetamol abuse or addiction could be the cause. Continue to monitor their behavior and be especially diligent in watching their prescriptions. Prescription drug abusers and addicts will require an exceedingly large amount of prescription drugs to continue to fuel their addiction. They will need to continue to refill prescriptions, steal from others, buy drugs online or shop doctors. Doctor shopping is the practice of going to multiple doctors or emergency rooms to get excessive amounts of prescription drugs.

Discovering an Addiction

Detecting an addiction can be difficult. Addiction is normally characterized by a drastic, yet progressive change in physical appearance, emotional stability, social dysfunction and psychological changes. Addicts will begin to isolate themselves as their addiction worsens. They will lose interest in normal activities. School or work will no longer be important and will reflect in their production and effort. Acetaminophen addicts will not hide the amount of drugs they will take, normally, because the drugs are not considered to be that dangerous; plus they are not illegal. Families will notice a loved one constantly consuming Tylenol, aspirin or another acetaminophen drug regularly or constantly going for more. Any odd actions should be addressed. Confronting an addict can seem difficult, but a simple and friendly conversation is all that is necessary.

Withdrawal Effects of Paracetamol Abuse

When an individual abruptly stops consuming drugs or alcohol after an extended period of drug/alcohol use or abuse they can experience withdrawal effects. These are the sensations that the body emits from not getting its regular dose of that drug. The symptoms are different depending on what drug you have been taking. Most people do not believe that acetaminophen is a dangerous drug, but it is. The drug can cause various withdrawal symptoms to which the severity depends on dosage and length of time it was taken. For those who take the drug regularly for headaches or migraines the drug can cause what is known as a rebound headache. When the medication wears off, the headache returns. When this happens the individual normally consumes more of the drug, which causes a dangerous cycle. Others have experienced severe cases of anxiety, depression or panic attacks. These are very serious issues that should be addressed by a medical professional. Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms must seek professional help immediately.

Getting Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription painkiller addiction is a very dangerous problem that thousands suffer from. This problem is difficult to detect since the drug is understood to be a normal, almost every day, medicine. Painkillers like these are never safe to be taken consistently over a long period of time. Long term use can cause serious health hazards that include liver, stomach and intestinal damage. These problems can be life threatening and therefore this drug should not be consumed regularly. Everyone can understand taking an aspirin every now and again for a headache or minor ache, but repeated use over extended periods of time can be disastrous. Young adults have taken to using this drug to mask some of the pain they encounter on a daily basis. Those suffering from depression or anxiety can turn to painkillers for a way out. These individuals are in serious emotional and mental danger. Some athletes may even turn to taking these drugs like candy to hide injuries from coaches or parents to stay on a team or in the game. The most common abuse of these drugs is from adults who take them for chronic pain in any capacity. They cause serious liver, stomach and intestinal damage that requires medical attention. If you or someone you know is abusing acetaminophen speak with them and a professional about help. Addiction is real and dangerous. Millions suffer from this problem every year, yet only a small fraction get the help they need. Speaking with a loved one is a great way to begin the journey towards a healthier life.