5 Long-Term Dangers Of Painkiller Abuse
There is no harm in taking painkillers when you want relief from discomfort in any part of the body. These medications work by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. However, challenges arise when these drugs are misused by the patient, whether knowingly or not Painkiller abuse is often associated with long-term side effects, and statistics indicate that 500,000 deaths worldwide are caused by the overuse of pain medication. If you’ve been prescribed painkillers, it’s critical to understand the required dosage and ensure that you stick to it. If it’s a long-term prescription, consider arranging regular reviews with your doctor to see if any dosage adjustments are necessary over time. With that said, it’s helpful to know the long-term dangers of painkiller abuse to help you steer clear of this issue.
- Dilated pupils
The human eye is an interesting part of the body’s functions. Naturally, healthy eyes react to light by self-constricting to limit the degree of light entering them. The exact opposite happens when the pupils dilate (open up) in a dim room to allow light penetration, which enhances vision. Constriction and dilation of the pupils are constant actions depending on the immediate environment a person finds themselves in. So, what role do painkillers play in this process? Long-term use of painkillers interferes with the natural pupil dilation process.
Whether in the dark or well-lit place, someone exposed to long-term painkiller use may have their pupils constantly dilated. In other words, the eyes fail to control light penetration, which can be a problem. In medicine, this is known as Mydriasis. Dilated pupils cause blurry vision, severe headaches, and increased light sensitivity. This could be the onset of a lifetime of vision problems. Due to this risk, it may be advisable to seek timely advice from your primary physician on what other options are available for pain management.
- Severe gastrointestinal problem
Did you know that 70% of the body’s immune system is in the digestive tract? This means more than half of your body’s defense mechanism is in your intestines. Long-term abuse of painkillers has been shown to be detrimental to intestinal function, subsequently impacting the immune system. The common gastrointestinal problems associated with this include impaired bowel movements, distention of the abdomen, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. There have been severe cases where the rectal muscle has been damaged due to extreme painkiller abuse.
Another organ that may suffer when there is over-consumption of painkillers is the liver. It works as a blood filter for the digestive tract. The liver is a detoxification organ for chemicals, including drugs, entering the body. Painkillers contain chemicals, and before the rest of the body can use them, they must first be processed by the liver. Consequently, long-term and irresponsible use of painkillers can take a heavy toll on the organ. Over time, this organ may lose its ability to properly perform blood chemical filtration functions. Consider a mild but effective painkiller alternative like Delta 8 gummies to prevent this. These are excellent for pain relief without having to resort to pharmaceutical analgesics.
- Hormonal dysfunction
Hormonal dysfunction is when a person has too little or too much of one or more hormones. Medical research has proven that this condition can happen from long-term painkiller usage. It can manifest as testosterone depletion and reduced libido. For people in their reproductive years, it can affect fertility and increase conception problems. In a study titled “The Physiological Effects of pain in the Endocrine System,” scientists discovered that long-term painkiller use negatively impacts the hormonal system. This happens because it can no longer withstand the pain. As a direct result, the endocrine system automatically causes a drastic reduction in hormone levels. Long-term painkillers also contribute to the reduction of serum hormones due to chemical overload. Fortunately, the condition is treatable, and you must speak with an expert to discuss your options.
- Increased cardiovascular problems
This health issue particularly affects people who, through no fault of theirs, must inject pain medications directly into the bloodstream. This works faster than those that go through the oral route. However, injected painkillers reach the bloodstream faster and, in effect, put a lot of pressure on the heart. What makes this even more worrying is that the negative effects are not immediately felt. It takes long-term use before any cardiovascular problems are detected.
According to science, early signs of cardiac problems can show by the second year of continuous painkiller shots. Fortunately, there has been increased knowledge about these side effects. This has largely contributed to people minimizing or making better choices regarding painkillers. Others have also embraced alternative therapies that usually do not involve pharmaceutical drugs. Hopefully, when many more people resort to safer options for pain management, cardiac risks can be minimized.
- Issues with the central nervous system
First, remember that analgesics work by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. Ideally, this should be done only briefly because of the associated impact on the central nervous system. Unfortunately, short-term pain management is not an option for some people, especially those with chronic pain who rely on years of effective management. Unfortunately, there are side effects. Constantly blocking pain signals from reaching the brain weakens the nervous system. And over time, your body will build resistance such that you may need a higher dosage anytime to take a painkiller. But you need your wits about you, which is with every pun intended.
The central nervous system consists of the spinal cord and the brain. These two organs can be described as the processing center of the human body. They contain billions of nerves that perform various functions relevant to cognition, motor skills, breathing, and sensory functions. Long-term painkiller usage, therefore, distresses the nervous system by interfering with normal functions played by the brain and spinal cord.
The last thing anybody wants is to cause another health problem through long-term usage of painkillers meant to make them feel better. Hopefully, this information provided enough insight into the long-term dangers of painkiller usage. Before switching to alternative therapy pain management options, discussing it with your physician is advisable. Taking that decision on your own may increase the risks of escalating or aggravating your health condition.