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What Is Demerol?
The most common brand name for the drug Meperidine, Demerol is an Opioid pain reliever, or OPR. Used to treat moderate to severe pain, it is most commonly prescribed for post-op recovery. While the relief Demerol can provide is necessary for some, it is highly addictive and should only be used for short-term pain treatment. Demerol is only available under a restricted distribution program called the Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program.
As an OPR, Demerol works by binding to the Opioid receptors in the brain and thereby blocking pain receptors from transmitting signals. At the same time, Demerol releases feel-good neurotransmitters. Overusing Demerol can bring on a euphoric feeling, often referred to as a “rush.”
Effects of Demerol
Demerol is most frequently used as a pre- and post-op medication. Anesthesiologists will often use Demerol as a pain killer, with or without putting someone to sleep. Demerol can be anywhere from one-tenth to half as potent as Morphine. While this may sound weak, it is actually the recommended medication for most people going into surgery. As an Opioid, overuse of Demerol can easily lead to overdose. Symptoms of overdose include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Weak or limp muscles
- Cold, clammy skin
- Muscle twitches
- Blue lips or fingernails
- Breathing issues
- Cardiac arrest
- Nausea and vomiting
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Using any prescription pain killer can turn into dependency and eventually an addiction. Even when used as prescribed, the powerful reaction triggered in the brain makes it harder for the brain to function without it. Most addictions to pain killers, like Demerol, start off with prescriptions. many individuals initially use their Demerol prescription as prescribed, but soon notice that they are not achieving the same effects that they have become accustomed to. This is called developing a tolerance. For some, their first reaction is to increase their dose with or without consulting their medical professional. For others, it may mean seeking out another prescription from other physicians or obtaining additional opioids illegally.
Even if the doctor increases the dose, there’s no assurance that the prescribed won’t develop an addiction. Often times, they won’t know they’ve built a dependence on Demerol until they’ve had to stop, and they experience the symptoms of withdrawal. These can include:
- Watery eyes
- Stuffy nose
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Fast breathing
- Fast heartbeat
- Back pain
When coming off a prescription to Demerol, the prescribing doctor may decrease doses gradually, a process known as tapering. While this can help in getting back to normal life, it may not be an option, something the doctor doesn’t prescribe, or not a long enough time frame to wean the body off its dependency. If this is the case, the symptoms of withdrawal may begin and could open temptation to turn to illicit means of procurement. Eventually, if it is impossible to find prescription Demerol, the user could turn to other drugs, like Heroin.
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Treatment for Demerol Addiction
Treatment for a Demerol addiction can be harder than it seems. Given how addictive the medication is and how severe the symptoms of withdrawal can be, it is not recommended that anyone try to quit Demerol on their own. People who are trying to overcome a Demerol addiction should instead undergo Demerol detox at a recovery center.
Due to the stigma that surrounds prescription drug abuse, it can be hard for someone addicted to it to come forward and say they need help. Looking in from the outside, telling someone to stop using a prescription painkiller seems easy. If they took it as prescribed, shouldn’t they be able to stop? Opioid pain relievers, however, are very strong and people using them regularly, even as prescribed, can develop an addiction within two weeks. The lack of public awareness of how addictive these medications can be has formed a stigma around people who have grown dependent on them.
If you, or someone you love, have grown dependent on Demerol, know that you aren’t alone. Prescription Opioid abuse is one of the most prevalent issues we are facing across the U.S. If you’re not sure who to go to, or where to go, then take the time to talk to a treatment provider. They’re dedicated to helping you figure out your next steps and mapping out your journey towards recovery. Contact a dedicated treatment provider today.
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