You could be dependant, but it’s NOT YOU FAULT! And we can help!

Evidence suggests Genetics plays a large role in opioid based pain killer addiction and also that long term regular use of Paracetamol can result in rebound headache – resulting in repeated consumption.

It is well documented that certain genetic subgroups (often those of Mediterranean decent) metabolise or break down codeine and other opioids to active morphine in a very short time, compared to the majority. This results in a rapid peak of morphine, similar to injection of heroin, and a short-lived euphoria (or high) altering perspective and dulling awareness of pain. The need to seek this relief grows as more and more opioid pain receptors become used being blocked and cause increased pain sensation during withdrawal phase. Often accompanied by diarrhoea, sweating and tingling or prickly pain.

Those with dependence on Over the Counter products often report non-opioid pain relief is ineffective, despite the codeine contained in these products being only half of a recognised minimum therapeutic dose, largely because the Central Nervous System euphoria and treatment of withdrawal is not present with non-opioid drugs.

Many sufferers of long term dependence are unaware of any Central Nervous System (CNS) effects as they become tolerant to the drowsiness and euphoria only occurs at much higher doses. The effects of slowed reaction times with CNS impairment is still very likely to increase risk of accidental injury and increases with age and reduced mobility.

Some doctors continue to prescribe opioids as convincing patients to withdraw and seek alternative options is confronting and difficult. Supporting withdrawal is often time consuming and short GP consultations can be inadequate. Other co-factors such as depression from chronic pain, limited mobility, job loss and other chronic conditions mean trialling other drug treatments can be confusing. A medication review by a consultant pharmacist may be useful.

Opioid withdrawal is RARELY pain free, but help is available. Opioid withdrawal medications can be prescribed by your own GP, withdrawal symptoms can be addressed and these are usually short term – less than a week.

Other pain control options are often more effective and improve quality of life in the long term.


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