According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. In 2014, there were 47,055 overdose deaths, 18,893 of which were due to abuse of opioids, which are medications that relieve pain. Medications in this group may also be referred to as narcotics.
One such medication is Demerol, and when Demerol is abused, the outcome can be fatal.
What is Demerol?
Demerol, also known as meperidine, is a prescription pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works by binding to receptors on cells and stops the body from sending signals of pain to the brain.
People can become addicted to Demerol after being prescribed the medication in the aftermath of surgery or trauma. However, the drug can also become addictive for those who were not given it for a medical reason and obtained it illegally, simply because it produces a feeling of euphoria.
What are the signs of Demerol abuse?
Though it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a person is abusing Demerol, especially if they are prescribed the medication, there are some signs that point to a potential dependency problem.
One of the main giveaways of Demerol abuse is constricted/pinpoint pupils, meaning the pupils in the eyes get very small.
Other symptoms of Demerol abuse and addiction include fatigue, itching, unusual sleeping habits, nausea, vomiting, sweating, disorientation, and slowed breathing.
Why is Demerol abuse dangerous?
For whatever reason, people often think prescription drugs can’t be as dangerous as street drugs. However, prescription drugs, when abused, lead to more overdoses than street drugs. When a user becomes used to a medication, the body requires more of it in order to reach the same level of effect that the medication first had on them. When taken in large doses, prescription drugs can wreak havoc on the body and internal organs.
For example, Demerol abuse can lead to seizures, headaches, strokes, difficulty breathing, heart attacks, confusion, liver problems, and even comas.
Demerol abuse can also open the door to experimenting with heroin because it produces the same effects for the user and is cheaper to obtain.
The behavioral signs of Demerol addiction mimic those of other addictions and include withdrawing from friends and family, failing to fulfill obligations, stealing money to buy drugs, becoming defensive about their use of the drug, and denying having a problem with the drug.
As with other types of addiction, there is a way to come off Demerol safely. However, it likely will not be a simple process for the person struggling with the addiction.
Similar to withdrawals from alcohol and other drugs, Demerol withdrawal can cause dizziness, confusion, mood swings, nausea, and vomiting. Some doctors will prescribe supplemental drugs for patients coming off Demerol in order to rid the body of Demerol more quickly. It is recommended that anyone coming off Demerol be under the care of a medical professional.
Treatment for Demerol addiction
As with all addictions, the type of treatment needed depends on the severity of the addiction and on the addict, and can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. The treatment plan is similar to that of other drugs, and can include being in a monitored setting with therapy/counseling sessions in order to address the root of the addiction.
As with all addictions, each situation is unique to the individual, so what works for one person may not be as effective for another. For more information about Demerol addiction and questions about treatment options, call (855) 486-3756 today.
Written by: Beth Leipholtz
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.