Demerol, the brand name for the drug meperidine, is a narcotic prescription analgesic that has been used for many decades as a moderate to severe pain reliever. Often used in labor and childbirth, Demerol is also prescribed to manage pain from cancer, heart attacks, severe accidents, and other medical conditions. As Demerol is a potent opioid narcotic, it is seldom prescribed in an outpatient setting; most individuals will receive Demerol while in the hospital. On the street, Demerol is often called “Juice,” “Dillies,” “D” or “Dust.”
Demerol functions by altering the body’s perception of pain by working on the central nervous system of the body. In addition to the powerful analgesic properties of Demerol, the narcotic also produces feelings of pleasure and giddiness, which can lead many individuals to use this narcotic for nonmedical reasons. Some use Demerol to escape a troubling situation, to numb emotional pain, or to cope with extraordinary stressors. When used in an uncontrolled setting, such as on the streets, Demerol can be highly addictive and individuals may take more and more of the drug to achieve greater feelings of pleasure. It can be extremely difficult to overcome Demerol abuse without proper professional treatment.
When Demerol is used outside the normal treatment parameters of the hospital for recreational abuse, it can wreak havoc on an individual’s life. Many individuals abuse Demerol for the blissful high it causes. However, the longer an individual abuses Demerol, the more likely it is that their body will become physically and psychologically dependent upon the drug, which can lead to intense withdrawal symptoms if drug use is ceased. In addition, while meperidine is offered in pill, oral liquid form, and IV injectable doses, it is the injectable form of Demerol that produces the most intense high. The consequences of long-term drug IV drug use are unimaginable.
To compound matters further, many individuals who are addicted to Demerol will use the drug in order to amplify the high attained by Demerol. Some individuals will combine meperidine with other downers such as benzodiazepines or alcohol to further enhance the feelings of pleasure. This can rapidly lead to unintentional overdose and death. Others may use Demerol in order to reduce the unpleasant side effects of stimulants such as cocaine. This form of polysubstance abuse can lead very easily to cardiovascular collapse, stroke, heart attack, and death.
Demerol, if used under the strict eye of a physician can be a relief for many struggling with unimaginable pain. However, if left untreated, a Demerol addiction can ruin an individual’s life. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Demerol, it is crucial to seek Demerol abuse treatment as soon as possible.
Individuals who become addicted to Demerol and other opiate narcotics often have an underlying mental illness that has been undiagnosed or untreated. Some of the most common co-occurring disorders include:
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Other substance addiction
Addiction to opiate narcotics knows no bounds – people from every socioeconomic, racial, cultural, background can develop an addiction to Demerol. Addiction to opiates is a major problem facing the United States today. In a thirty-day time period, about 7 million people over the age of 12 abused some sort of prescription drug; of those 5.2 million admitted to prescription opiate abuse. It has been reported that there has been a 111% increase in emergency department visits due to painkiller abuse. Addiction knows no bounds.
While the precise cause for addiction to Demerol is not well-understood, addiction is thought to be the result of several factors working together. These factors may include:
Genetic: Individuals who have a first-degree relative who has an addiction to Demerol or another substance are more likely to develop an addiction later in life.
Brain Chemistry: Certain individuals may be born with a malfunction in the way the reward system of the brain functions. These individuals may grow to rely upon substances such as Demerol that stimulate the pleasure center of the brain in order to make up for their inborn deficiency.
Environmental: Individuals who grow up in a home in which addiction ran rampant may come to see substance abuse and addiction as a normal way to cope with everyday stresses and emotional pain. These individuals may grow to develop an addiction to Demerol or other substances later in life.
Psychological: Some individuals struggle for many years to control the symptoms of an undiagnosed or undertreated mental illness. In order to cope with distressing symptoms, these individuals may turn to substances such as Demerol to self-medicate the symptoms of their mental illness.
The symptoms of Demerol addiction are varied and will depend upon the individual, their genetic makeup, their body’s level of addiction, the length of abuse, and the frequency of Demerol abuse. Some of the most common symptoms of Demerol addiction include the following:
- Intense mood swings
- Unremitting anxiety
- “Drug-seeking” behaviors
- “Nodding out” – or appearing in a daze
- Forging prescriptions for Demerol
- Craving the drug when it is unavailable
- Increasing the dose to achieve similar effects
- Doctor-shopping to obtain more prescriptions for Demerol
- Lying about the amount consumed
- Stealing or borrowing money from friends and loved ones
- Taking other people’s prescriptions
- Stashing Demerol around various places at home, work, or in the car
- Withdrawing from previously pleasurable activities
- Neglecting responsibilities at work and at home
- Difficulties breathing
- Dry mouth
- Liver problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Kidney problems
- Heart attack
- Exacerbation of symptoms of mental illness
- Worsening depression
The effects of Demerol addiction can affect nearly every part of an addict’s life. These effects range from mild to extremely severe and will vary among individuals. The most common effects of Demerol addiction include:
- Job loss
- Domestic and child abuse
- Social isolation
- Worsening physical and emotional wellbeing
- Suicidal thoughts
Effects of Withdrawal
The effects of withdrawal from Demerol can be excruciatingly uncomfortable for people who have been addicted to the drug for a long period of time. Demerol should not be discontinued without the express supervision of trained medical personnel in a rehab or hospital setting. Withdrawal effects include:
- Bone and muscle pain
- Anxiety and agitation
- Fever and chills
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Restlessness and irritability