Demerol is an opioid prescription that’s used to treat pain symptoms in people with injuries, in surgery recovery, or dealing with chronic pain. Demerol is a brand name for a drug called meperidine hydrochloride, which is chemically similar to morphine. The drug can relieve pain and cause sedation, but it can also have some adverse effects. Demerol can cause some common symptoms like itching and constipation. However, abuse or long term use can cause chemical dependence and addiction.

Opioid addiction can be progressive, which means it can get worse if it’s not treated. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the abuse of prescription opioids is a risk factor for later heroin use. Opioid addiction can increase your risk of a fatal overdose. Learn more about Demerol addiction and how it can be treated.

What Are the Signs of Demerol Addiction?

Addiction is diagnosed as a severe substance use disorder, and it usually follows a pattern of drug abuse and dependence. Addiction is characterized by a compulsive return to the drug, even if it’s causing problems in your life. Some people are able to hide their addiction in the early stages, but it eventually starts to take over different aspects of their life. Acute intoxication will come with some clear signs like sedation, itchiness, and drowsiness, but you may start to show signs even when you haven’t taken the drug recently. Other signs include:

  • Flu-like withdrawal symptoms
  • Using to achieve euphoria
  • Using to feel normal
  • Trying and failing to cut back
  • Isolation
  • Loss of interest in regular activities
  • Changes in your friend group
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent intoxication
  • Itchiness
  • Constipation
  • Struggling at work or school

What Is Involved in Demerol Addiction Treatment?

Addiction treatment is a process that addresses medical, psychological, and social needs. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there are four main levels of care in addiction treatment: medical detox, inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment. At each level of care, you will go through a treatment plan that’s tailored for your individual needs. Medical detox is reserved for people that are likely to go through dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Opioids like Demerol aren’t usually life-threatening during withdrawal, but it can be extremely unpleasant. In some cases, detox is necessary if withdrawal would complicate other medical conditions.

As you complete treatment at one level of care, you may progress to a lower level. Through treatment, you will learn to cope with drug cravings and triggers to help avoid relapse. You may also address underlying issues with a therapist like past trauma or anxiety disorders.

How Dangerous Is Demerol?

As an opioid, Demerol should be taken with care. Opioids can be extremely addictive if they’re abused. Doses that are too high can cause fatal overdose symptoms. A Demerol overdose can cause your heartbeat to slow down and your breathing to become shallow. You might also lose consciousness, and it may be difficult to wake you up. Fatal overdoses are often caused by respiratory depression, which is when your breathing slows or stops. Opioid overdoses can be treated with naloxone if it’s administered in time. Demerol is more dangerous when it’s mixed with other opioids, depressants, or alcohol. Illicit opioids are also inherently dangerous. Since they aren’t regulated, they could contain any number of additives, including powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

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