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Demerol Abuse, Addiction and Treatment Options

A Demerol addiction can be debilitating, and it is not uncommon for people to become addicted to this drug by accident. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to help them recover.

Perhaps you are suffering from an addiction to Demerol. If you are, you need to get help to recover. This is a powerful drug, and it is not one that should be stopped abruptly. People frequently try to stop taking it on their own, and they put themselves at risk in the process.

It is crucial to understand what Demerol is, how it works in the body, and how people get addicted to it. It is also important to know that recovery is possible for those who want to find freedom from this all-encompassing addiction.

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What is Demerol?

Demerol is also sold under its generic name, Meperidine. It is classified as a prescription opioid drug, and it is a synthetic narcotic. This medication is given frequently in hospitals and emergency room settings because it is very effective in treating pain.

Demerol is very closely related to Morphine, which is an opiate medication. Like Morphine, this drug is highly addictive when it is abused.

In most cases, people are able to take Demerol without any serious repercussions. They take it as prescribed for short periods of time, and stop it without incident. But there are those who might take it for too long, or who might end up abusing it. These cases are serious, and even though it is given by prescription, that does not mean that it is safe.

Doctors will often prescribe opioid medications to help people who are in pain. Demerol is frequently given in emergency room settings because it is considered to be less potent than other, similar drugs, such as Oxycodone or Vicodin. It may also be given to patients after they have had surgical procedures.

There are other uses for opioid drugs as well. Some can be used to help people stop the use of drugs like heroin. Others, such as codeine, are prescribed to people who have severe coughs and colds.

Just like any other addictive prescription drug, opioids do have their place. When they are used correctly, they can be incredibly helpful for someone in pain. The problem is that they are often not used in the right way, and people do not realize how addictive they can really be.

Drug dealers will frequently refer to the substances they sell by their street names instead of their chemical names. Demerol is available on the street, which is how a lot of people get it when they cannot get it by prescription. It can be purchased under the names Painkiller and Demmies.

Because Demerol is an opioid painkiller, it is extremely addictive when it is misused. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not realize how easily they can get addicted to it. As a result, they may continue taking it for weeks, months, or even years without realizing what is happening.

Demerol may be considered one of the milder pain killing medications, but that does not mean it is not dangerous. It is addictive, and taking it for too long, or in higher doses than normal can lead to addiction and dependence.

Why do People Get Addicted to Demerol?

Understanding why people get addicted to Demerol and other, similar opioid drugs begins with knowing how they work. This medication targets pain in the body, and it works by attaching to the opioid receptors. These are located in the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the body.

Demerol Addiction Information

When the opioid receptors are activated in this way, they block the signals of pain that would otherwise have gone to the brain. The result is reduced or eliminated pain.

When not taking pain medications, the body responds to sensations of pain by releasing endorphins. This is the body’s own way of reducing these sensations, and it is really a survival mechanism. Drugs like Demerol are designed to work in the same way as the body’s own natural endorphins.

Unfortunately, that is not all that Demerol does in the body. It also increases the amount of dopamine that the brain can produce. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel happy when something good happens in your life. With excess amounts of dopamine, the brain gets used to the new levels. Eventually, people who take this drug for a longer period of time feel they need it to be OK. Without it, they no longer feel happy.

This is an excellent video that explains this process in greater detail.

The most common way to form an addiction to Demerol is to do so accidentally. As we mentioned earlier, a lot of people begin by having a prescription for it. They may have gone through surgery, or suffer from back pain or pain from another serious injury.

In a perfect world, people would get prescriptions for opioid medications, use them as directed, and stop when they are no longer in pain. These drugs are only intended to be used for short periods of time. Sadly, there are doctors who will prescribe them long-term. When they do, the people taking them have very good chance of becoming addicted to them.

While it might not be as commonly found on the streets as other opioid drugs, Demerol can be purchased illegally. It is possible to find it online, and many painkillers can be bought from other countries without a doctor’s prescription.

Unfortunately, this is the route that a lot of people take. After a certain period of time has passed, they may not be able to get their medications from their doctors. As a result, they will turn to the streets or the Internet to buy them.

Of course, this practice carries its own risks. There are no guarantees that you are getting the drug that you ordered when you buy it online. The FDA has done a lot of work to decrease the flow of opioid drugs through illegal online sales. But there are still some that get through.

While it might sound surprising, hospital personnel have very high rates of addiction. In fact, doctors and nurses carry significant risks for addictions.

If you think about carefully, it does make sense. Both doctors and nurses often work long hours on their feet. They may be battling extreme amounts of pain, the medications they need are always at their disposal. It is very easy for a nurse to take Demerol from the med cart when she is giving her patients their medications. Doctors basically have unlimited access to all types of drugs, and the temptation to relieve their pain is hard to ignore.

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Registered Nurse Turns in His License After Stealing Opioid Painkillers

Consider the story of Robert A. Mulpagano; a fifty-six-year-old Registered Nurse, who recently turned in his license. He was caught stealing opioid painkillers, and agreed to give up his career as a part of a plea deal.

The records from the court show that Mulpagano fraudulently obtained several syringes of Fentanyl; which is an extremely addictive opioid drug. He did not have a doctor’s order for the medication, and he stole them from the hospital.

He was only arrested after the staff at the hospital noticed that there were discrepancies in their medication dispensing records. He was charged with falsifying business records in the first degree, along with several other felony charges.

Sadly, Robert’s story is not the only one. This type of thing is happening all over the United States. This is another example of a nurse who was arrested for stealing opioid drugs from the hospital where she worked. Deputies found more than 300 empty containers at her home that once contained more than 10,000 tablets of various drugs.

How is Demerol Typically Abused?

Demerol can be abused in a number of different ways. In general, the method of abuse tends to change as the addiction progresses. Most people start out abusing it innocently; without realizing that they are doing anything that could potentially be harmful to them.

When someone has been taking Demerol for a long time, they may eventually begin taking more than they should. For example, instead of taking one tablet, they may take one and a half tablets. They do this because they are forming a tolerance to the drug, and it might not work as well as it did when they started.

It is also common for people to take their normal dosage amounts of Demerol too close together once they have formed a tolerance. This can also be extremely dangerous, and it is a sign that they are becoming dependent.

Demerol has a direct impact on how the brain works, as we discussed earlier. What many people do not know is that this drug has a direct impact on the body’s respiratory system. Taking it can eventually lead to opioid-induced respiratory depression. This means that people can begin taking shorter inhalations of oxygen and exhaling longer. The result is too much carbon dioxide and not enough oxygen in the body.

Combining Demerol with alcohol or other drugs can be catastrophic because of the increased depression of the respiratory system. Still, people will take this combination of substances as a way to enhance the high they feel. It can also result in a secondary addiction that will also need to be treated.

Taking Demerol using any one of these methods allows the drug to travel to the brain faster. Smoking is the quickest way to get high when using most drugs. But most people are more likely to snort it or inject it.

Snorting Demerol is easily done by grinding the pills into a powdered form. The user will then insufflate it through the nose. To inject it, they either have to have access to the liquid form of the drug, or they have to mix the powder with water or another fluid.

Regardless, of the above drug delivery methods are extremely dangerous. Still, people who are addicted to Demerol will do anything to experience the high.

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How Does Abuse Lead to Addiction?

There is a difference between substance abuse and addiction, and they are not the same at all. When it comes to Demerol, people start off by abusing it, and then they become addicted to it later on.

During the abuse phase, they are actually training their brains to need the drug, whether they realize it or not. The more they keep taking it inappropriately, the closer they come to getting addicted to it. This goes back to the process we discussed earlier, and it is directly related to dopamine levels in the brain.

This is why people state that they do not feel like themselves unless they are using when they are addicted. They feel a need to take the drug in order to feel normal.

There is no way to tell how long it might take for someone to become addicted to Demerol because everyone is so different. One person might become addicted in a matter of a few weeks. Another might not have an addiction even after taking the drug for years.

What is most important to understand is the reality that an addiction to Demerol – or any other opioid drug – can happen at any time. If you are using this medication inappropriately right now, your very next use could be the one that tips the scales.

Once you are addicted to an opioid drug like Demerol, it is impossible for you to just stop taking it. Even cutting down your dosage will likely result in severe withdrawal symptoms that are very hard to manage on your own. This is why so many people say that they feel trapped in their addictions.

Fortunately, there are treatment methods that can help you stop using Demerol successfully. We will talk in more detail about what they are in just a few minutes.

The Side Effects of Demerol

Like other opioid drugs, Demerol has a list of side effects. Even when people take it appropriately, they are likely to experience any of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Some of these side effects may go away with continued use of the drug, but others may persist.

Abusing Demerol in the short-term can unleash an entirely new list of side effects. This is because taking this drug in excess – even for a short period of time – can be dangerous.

The short-term effects of Demerol abuse include:

  • Feeling weak
  • Extreme feelings of calmness
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Flushing
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive sweating

Of course, this drug is also capable of impacting judgment in risky situations. People should never drive or operate heavy machinery while taking it. Still, they often do, which puts them in danger of an accident.

The long-term effects of Demerol are extremely disturbing. When people take this medication for a long period of time, they put themselves at risk for:

  • Damage to the liver
  • Damage to the kidneys
  • Heart problems
  • Damage to the intestines
  • Extreme nausea
  • Bloating
  • Possible, irreparable brain damage

Sadly, people often ignore the risks associated with the long-term use of Demerol. If they eventually stop using it, some of the effects may be reversible, but not all of them will be.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

When someone is addicted to opioids, it may be fairly easy for outsiders to be able to tell. There are a number of signs and symptoms that become apparent, such as:

  • Frequent drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Signs of depression
  • Problems with coordination
  • Poor decision making skills and judgment
  • Problems keeping up with responsibilities
  • Excessive sleep
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Feeling irritable and agitated
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Slurred speech

Other signs that may indicate you are addicted to opioids include:

  • Continuing to use the drugs despite the negative consequences.
  • Being unable to quit or cut down.
  • Having cravings for the drug.
  • Spending excessive amounts of time trying to find the drugs, using them, and recovering from use.
  • Becoming isolated from loved ones.
  • No longer participating in favorite activities or events.
  • Using while performing a dangerous activity, such as driving.
  • Feeling the need to frequently increase your dosage.
  • Going through withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop, or when not taking the drugs.

It is possible to be an addict if you only have one of the signs or symptoms on this list. The more symptoms you have, the more severe your condition is. Also, the more severe it is, the more important it is to seek help.

More Ways to Find Out if You are an Addict

It can be difficult to determine if you are an addict based on a list of the above symptoms. It is possible that your situation is not so cut and dry, and you need to find other ways to know what you should do. There are a few other methods you can try.

Many people prefer talking with a professional in the addiction treatment field to learn more about their substance abuse problems. This allows them to explain their situations and symptoms, and get some real advice that can help them.

Many rehab programs offer free addiction assessments for this reason. It is very helpful to talk with an expert and get advice about what you should do if you believe you might be addicted.

It may also be beneficial to take a drug addiction quiz to get more information about your drug use. This quiz asks several different questions about various areas of your life, as well as your behaviors. At the end, you will get access to your results immediately. You will be able to find out if you are only abusing Demerol, or if you are addicted to it. If you are an addict, it will advise you on what to do to get help.

You Find Out You are Addicted – What is the Best Way to Quit?

In their quest for the truth, a lot of people will learn that they actually do suffer from addictions to Demerol. If this happens to you, please do not panic. The worst thing you could do at this time would be to just stop taking it abruptly, which is what many people do. There are ways to quit, but it might take some time.

The best way for you to stop using Demerol is to go through an addiction treatment program that has been shown to be effective. You need to address all aspects of your substance abuse problem in the correct way.

Your Options for Stopping the Use of Demerol

There are a lot of different ways to stop using Demerol once you are addicted to it. It is important to know your options, and which ones you should be considering. Let’s talk about what they are so that you can make an informed decision.

Instead of seeking out professional help, a lot of people will try a self-taper of their opioid medications. This approach seems to make sense on the surface. All they need to do is to take smaller amounts of the drug over time until they are no longer taking it at all.

There are a lot of problems with this method, such as:

  • People run the risk of tapering too quickly, putting themselves into withdrawal when they didn’t mean to.
  • They may taper too slowly, and as a result, still experience many of the debilitating effects of their addictions.
  • They may experience unwanted side effects as a result of the detox process.
  • They may run out of their medication too quickly.
  • They may end up trying other drugs as a way to help the symptoms they experience, putting themselves at an even greater risk or problems.

Opioid tapering is something that should only be attempted by a qualified physician. It is best done in a treatment program where the staff can monitor any changes.

There is a lot of information online about how to naturally detox from drugs at home. There are websites that claim that taking certain vitamins and minerals or taking supplements can help with the process. Again, this all sounds good on the surface, but there is no proof that these method work.

As of this date, the FDA has not approved any supplement, detox drink, or any other product for detoxification purposes. Taking any of these can be dangerous, and they generally do very little to help control withdrawal symptoms.

It is possible to purchase drug detox kits over the counter in pharmacies and other types of stores. These products all promise miraculous results, but again, they are not approved by the FDA. There is no proof that they work, and they should be avoided.

Opioid withdrawal can be especially painful, which is why the cold turkey approach should never be attempted with these medications. In many cases, the withdrawal symptoms are so severe that people genuinely feel as though they want to die.

Withdrawal places demands on the body that are both physical and mental. It makes you feel as though you will never get through it. One woman states, “…for me, quitting cold [turkey] led to a whole host of other behaviors that were – in many ways – more debilitating than opioid addiction.”

She goes on to talk about how she switched to Tramadol instead, which she obtained from a Mexican doctor. When she ran out of that, she started smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol; so much so that she was high and drunk all of the time.

Quitting cold turkey is usually not the answer when it comes to opioid drugs like Demerol. Attempting it can do more harm than good.

Here, Brett Favre talks about his experience with quitting opioids cold turkey, and how difficult it was.

As we mentioned earlier, professional addiction treatment is the best way to stop using Demerol if you are addicted. The best programs address both the physical and the psychological sides of the substance abuse problem.

There are two forms of treatment that are needed in order to result in a successful recovery. We will talk in more detail about what they are in just a moment.

The Dangers of Stopping Opioid Drugs on Your Own

Not only is it likely to be ineffective, but there are also risks involved when anyone stops the use of opioids on their own. Attempting it is very dangerous.

Whenever anyone tries to stop using opioid drugs without professional help, they put themselves at a risk of relapsing. When you relapse after having stopped a substance for a period of time, you could accidentally overdose.

A relapse occurs when you go back to taking a drug after you previously stopped taking it. People are at risk of overdosing after relapsing because they do not realize how quickly their tolerance levels have changed.

Medication tolerance refers to the decreasing or increasing need you have for a drug. These levels drop once you stop taking Demerol, and you no longer need as much as you once did to feel the drug’s effects. This is something that many people do not understand.

When most people relapse, they go back to taking the amount of the drug they were taking previously. Usually, this is just a matter of habit. Sometimes people will even take more, thinking that it will help the drug get into their systems faster. When they do, they are at risk of overdosing on opioids.

There are two types of complications that can occur during opioid withdrawal. They are excessive vomiting and diarrhea. These conditions can result in dehydration, which can be a life-threatening situation. It is also possible that this could lead to an elevated blood sodium level, which could end up in heart failure.

It might seem strange to think that a medication that was given to you by your doctor could result in your death. But the statistics are there to prove that it is true. People have died as a result of withdrawing from opioid drugs like Demerol. The only way to avoid it is to get proper treatment to reduce your risk of overdosing.

Understanding Opioid Withdrawal from Demerol

People often wonder, why does the body go through withdrawal when stopping the use of opioids? This is a great question, and it is important to get the answer so you can understand what your mind and body are going through.

As we have learned, your body has gotten used to its regular dose of Demerol. You may have had to increase it from time to time, but your body has come to expect it regularly. When you suddenly stop taking it, it can throw you into a state of shock. Your body is desperately trying to reach a place of homeostasis again, but until then, you will feel uncomfortable. That is why you go through withdrawal.

The earlier symptoms of opioid withdrawal tend to be rather mild compared to what happens later on. When people first stop taking their Demerol or other, similar medications, they are likely to experience:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • A runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Excessive yawning
  • Eye tearing

As withdrawal progresses, additional symptoms will develop as well. These can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Goosebumps
  • Other flu-like symptoms

Withdrawal can be challenging; there is no question about that. But with the right treatment, many of the most common symptoms can be reduced or even avoided altogether.

Drug Treatment: The Best Option for Recovering From a Demerol Addiction

A quality drug treatment program is the best way to recover from a Demerol addiction. It can take some time, but with professional help, it is possible to overcome both the psychological and the physical sides of the addiction.

Ignoring either one of these aspects is likely to result in a return of the active addiction at some point. This is why it is best to get proper treatment right away, to avoid a relapse.

The Importance and Benefits of Drug Detox

Drug detox is the first step you must go through when you are addicted to Demerol. It is a type of withdrawal treatment that helps to minimize and control symptoms by eliminating toxins from the body. Not only can it help you feel better faster; but it can also potentially help you avoid some of the more common complications that can accompany withdrawal.

In most cases, the detoxification process will start with a taper off Demerol. This should only ever be done under strict medical supervision. It allows people to take smaller doses of the drug over time, which can also reduce the severity of symptoms.

Your doctor will place you on a strict tapering schedule if they feel this is a good approach for you to take. Again, this is not something you should try on your own. Your doctor will know exactly how much of the medication to give you each day so that you can come off of it safely.

Medical detox is often used when a patient has an opioid addiction. It is a type of withdrawal treatment that allows you to take medications to help with your symptoms.

You may or may not have heard of medication assisted treatment, or MAT. It is a common practice for those who are addicted to Demerol. For this form of treatment, you may be placed on opioid replacement therapy. If you are, you will be given a different type of opioid medication to help with your symptoms.

Some of the more commonly used drugs for this type of treatment include:

All of them work very well, but many experts are leaning more toward the use of Vivitrol over the other drugs. This is because it has shown to be highly effective and not addictive. In addition, it is given once a month by injection, which makes it very convenient.

Also, patients undergoing treatment for opioid withdrawal will receive holistic treatments as well. Studies have shown that making certain dietary changes and including physical exercise on a regular basis can help with detoxing the body. Exercise also releases endorphins, which can help people feel better much faster.

Drug Rehab for Your Demerol Addiction

Once people have gone through detox, they usually feel quite a bit better. Some may even feel energized and have a renewed purpose for their lives. As a result, they may not feel the need to continue on with drug rehab. But, of course, that would be a mistake.

During drug rehab, your psychological addiction to Demerol is treated. This is so important, because you need to know why you became addicted to it in the first place.

A lot of people report that they started using this drug because they were in pain. They liked the way it made them feel, and so they continued using it. For them, it might have covered up feelings of sadness or anxiety, and it seemed to work really well. These issues are the ones that drug rehab will address.

Please do not skip this step. There are several different ways you can go through drug rehab, and we will talk more about them in just a moment.

Sometimes people suffer from what are called co-occurring disorders when they have addictions. A co-occurring disorder is a mental health condition that can lead to an addiction in an attempt to control the symptoms.

There are many different types of co-occurring disorders, such as:

It is absolutely essential to treat these conditions at the same time as the addiction. People need to know why they turned to drug use, and once they do, they can begin the healing process.

Your Options for Addiction Treatment

There are several different options available for drug rehab. There really is no one “right” solution either. What works for one person might not work for another. What matters the most is that you choose the type of program that is best for you.

  • Inpatient treatment – Inpatient rehab is, by far, the most popular choice for drug rehab. This usually includes your drug detox, and the entire program lasts for about 28 days. You stay in a facility where you get help for your addiction.
  • Outpatient treatment – This form of treatment can work well, but it is usually only for those who have been through a higher level of care. Outpatient rehab involves working with a therapist on a regular basis.
  • Intensive outpatient programs – IOPs have been shown to be highly effective at treating addictions. These programs usually last around 12 weeks, and patients are expected to come to appointments several days a week during the evening hours.
  • Day treatment programs – Day treatment is very similar to IOP, but the programs take place during the day. They can last from two to eight hours.
  • Long-term rehab – A long-term rehab or residential addiction treatment program is best for those who need much more time and attention in order to recover. These programs can last for several months.

Recovery From Demerol Addiction is Possible with the Right Support

Recovering from your Demerol addiction will be challenging, but it is not impossible. At Northpoint Recovery, we offer an excellent inpatient treatment program that can help you.

Do you have further questions about Demerol addiction or treatment? If you do, please contact us.

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