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How to Overcome Painkiller Addiction

Each one of us at different levels of our lives, have suffered a pain. Headaches are a common example of pain and one may need to take a painkiller. However, if abused, it may end up becoming the bigger problem than the headache. You take a pain-killer when you first start getting headaches because it is 'just a headache' but as the headaches become frequent and last longer, your use of pain killers also increase and before you realize it, you are addicted to painkillers taking as much as 20 tablets a day.

When you finally go to see a doctor, you are shocked when you are told that the pain medication you depend on to relieve your headaches were actually the ones causing the headaches! You are the unintended victim of analgesic headaches caused by overuse of painkillers. Nearly all over-the-counter painkillers and prescription headache medicines cause analgesic rebound headaches. The cause is not the drug itself but the over use.

PainKiller Side Effects

A person with frequent headaches takes a painkiller that initially provides relief and when another headache occurs, the same painkiller is taken again and this pattern is repeated. soon you are using the painkiller almost daily to relieve the increasingly severe headaches. this means the body has developed a tolerance to the drug, which also means the same amount of pain medicine is no longer relieving the pain. Therefore, when the effects of the pain-killer wears out, the headache returns with a vengeance along with other 'withdrawal' symptoms like nausea, anxiety and irritability.

Taking more of the offending medicine will relieve the headache and other withdrawal symptoms, but only until the medicine wears off again in a short while. This pattern repeats itself indefinitely in a vicious cycle and may even result in painkiller addiction.

Analgesic rebound headaches are self-sustaining, rhythmic that occurs nearly daily. It prevails between four and 24 hours and varies in severity and becomes constant when pain killers are used regularly. The overuse of painkillers can also block the effectiveness of other medicines that prevent headache. An analgesic rebound headaches can occur with painkillers especially those containing the caffeine. when used properly, caffeine helps relieve headaches by causing narrowing of blood vessels.

The problem comes when pills with caffeine are overused because when caffeine wears off, the blood vessels becomes wider again and the pain returns. You should be be concerned about the possibility of an analgesic rebound headache if you are using migraine or tension headache more than three times a week.

Painkiller Withdrawal

The treatment requires you to be weaned off the painkiller over a period of time because it is difficult if the pain-killer is stopped all at once as this causes more severe headaches and withdrawal symptoms.

The headaches became more intense and are at their worst one to two days of stopping the drug and this 'worst period' may last for two to three weeks than there is improvement in the headache symptom and general feeling of well-being over the next two to three months with the headaches occurring less often and are less severe.

How often can you take painkillers for headaches? It depends on what kind of medication you are taking, but a good rule of thumb is not to take any more than three days a week, and no more often than recommended on the label or as prescribed. Here  are tips when taking any medication:
  •     Take it exactly as you are told by your doctor.
  •     Make sure each of your doctors (if you see more than one) has a list of the medicines you're taking.
  •     Those you live with should know what medicine you are taking and when.
  •     Do not combine prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines before asking your doctor.
  •     Do not stop taking a medicine or change the dosage without talking to the doctor.
  •     Do not take someone else's medicine or share your medicine.
  •     Do not use expired drugs.
  •     Do not crush, break or chew tablets or capsules unless you are told to because some medicines won't work right unless swallowed whole.
  •     Pregnant or breast-feeding women should check with their doctor before taking any medication, even 'natural' ones as what is safe for the mother may not be for her baby.
Always remember, If you need more medication to control your pain, see a doctor


  1. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


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