Why do people become addicted to painkillers?

Dr. Timothy W. Fong, MD

Most people who are prescribed prescription opioids take them in a safe and reliable fashion. It is not the normal for people to take pills and develop addiction. It's just one of the possible consequences.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

America’s first thought for pain is medication. Some can take it and quit; however, the more people use pain medication, the more they crave to use it, thus increasing tolerance. Secondly, it is easier to justify taking a pill than asking for heroin, which has similar characteristics. Detox symptoms can be so severe that people tend to put off wanting to stop the painkiller medication. Since the drug is prescribed by doctors, we justify that it is okay to use; however, it can create a demon inside of us that we have no idea how to control.

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Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner
A person might start abusing painkillers to get high and then develop an addiction to avoid withdrawal symptoms, says addiction specialist Douglas Severance, MD. In this video, he shares how addiction occurs when painkillers are used inappropriately.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.