Facts About Painkillers

If you or a loved one is struggling with painkiller addiction, Buena Vista Recovery can help. Explore some fast facts about painkillers, the short-term and long-term effects of painkiller use, addiction information, and how to get on the path to recovery. 

What Are Painkillers?

Painkillers are medications used to manage acute and chronic pain by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. Some are available over the counter, while others are only available by prescription. Unfortunately, while painkillers can be highly effective in managing pain, they can also be addictive and have significant short- and long-term effects on the user’s health and overall well-being.

Some of the most common types of painkillers include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Excedrin, Advil, and Aleve)
  • Opioids (morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone)


Opioids are prescription drugs used to treat severe pain and are highly addictive. Taking them can lead to painkiller addiction, and long-term use increases the likelihood of addiction. Using the drugs long-term can lead to tolerance and dependence, resulting in the need for higher dosages to achieve the same effect.

Quick Facts About Painkillers and Addiction


Commonly Abused Painkillers

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab)
  • Oxymorphone 
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Morphine
  • Propoxyphene 


The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Painkiller Use and Addiction

Painkiller use can have many short- and long-term effects. While some of these effects vary by the type of painkiller used, here are some of the most common.

Short-Term Effects Long-Term Effects
Pain relief Bleeding
Mental alertness Higher risk of infections
Drowsiness Liver damage
Nausea or vomiting Tolerance and dependence
Constipation Increased risk of addiction
Hormonal imbalances
Cognitive impairment

Using painkillers before or while driving can also result in impairment, which puts the driver and others on the road at risk.

Painkiller Addiction and Treatment

Are you or a loved one suffering from a painkiller addiction? Symptoms of addiction may include:

  • Increased cravings for the drug
  • A higher tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to reduce use or quit


You may also experience occupational, social, or financial problems due to painkiller abuse.

If you or someone you love is battling a painkiller addiction, we encourage you to seek professional help at Buena Vista. We understand the complexities of painkiller addiction and offer evidence-based treatment options and patient-centric approaches to treatment to help patients achieve long-lasting recovery.

Contact Buena Vista today to learn more about painkiller addiction and review your options. We’ll help you create a personalized treatment plan that works best for you and help you start on the path to recovery. 

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