Should You Rely on Painkillers to Alleviate Pain?

Updated on January 12, 2022

Painkillers are generally seen as a fix-all solution to all kinds of pain. Whether it’s physical pain such as toothaches and headaches, or emotional pain such as bereavement and depression, the idea is that by taking some drugs, you can immediately feel better. 

Since painkillers are seen as a fix-it-all, they are extremely popular. However, if you rely on painkillers to alleviate your pain, this is a bad idea. 

Let’s dive into if you should really rely on a painkiller to alleviate pain. 

Painkillers address symptoms

Painkillers deal with only the symptom and not the cause of pain. If you rely on these drugs to feel better, you’re not actually treating your issue; rather, you’re masking it by dulling its effects with medication. 

For instance, some people will take sleeping pills to address insomnia. However, this is more like a band-aid. It can help in the short term, but you’re not actually finding out why you can’t fall asleep. The problem will just keep coming back, and you’ll need even more doses of sleeping pills to fall asleep.

Painkillers aren’t a cure

Painkillers aren’t a magic cure and can even make the pain worse. Some people think taking a painkiller is just like taking any other medicine, and it will cure your pain, which isn’t accurate.

As mentioned above, painkillers work in a way to mask pain. For instance, if you’re recovering from a leg injury and take painkillers to alleviate it, you’ll leg will feel better, but it’s still in recovery. You should still get plenty of bed rest and not overuse your leg. 

However, some people think taking a painkiller and not feeling as much leg pain is the same as being fully recovered. They might go out and start working out again only to reinjure their leg since it wasn’t fully healed.  

Often taken when not needed

Painkillers are often prescribed, and while they can help alleviate pain, there are many times when they’re prescribed to people who don’t need them. Even worse, there are people who start taking painkillers when they absolutely don’t need to. 

Taking painkillers when you don’t actually need to be is bad for your health. Your body’s not really benefiting from its intended use, and you’re running the risk of becoming addicted.

You build a tolerance

The more you rely on painkillers, the more your body builds a tolerance to their effects. 

This is mainly true if you consistently use painkillers to alleviate pain. If you take painkillers often, your body will develop a resistance to the medication, and it will stop working as intended. 

Highly addictive

Painkillers are highly addictive and dangerous. Once you’re hooked on them, it can be hard to go cold turkey and quit using painkillers. 

Not only is it difficult for many people to stop using these medications once they’ve started, but also their overuse can lead to very serious health complications such as liver failure, brain damage, and even death.

Can lead to depression

Overuse of painkillers can cause depression. This is because they affect the serotonin levels in your body.

When you take these medications on a regular basis, serotonin will eventually stop being produced naturally, and the only way to feel happy again is to take more drugs. Unfortunately, this leads to even further health complications—such as high anxiety or suicidal thoughts

Can interfere with your daily life

On overreliance on painkillers can interfere with your day-to-day routine. When you rely too much on painkillers to get through the day, you’ll find yourself consistently craving them just to function. 

Even simple things like getting up out of bed and getting dressed can become hard. Your body is telling you the only way you’re going to start your day is by taking a painkiller.  

To answer the original question, no, you shouldn’t rely on painkillers to alleviate pain. Yes, they work for some people. However, it shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on.

You should seek other alternatives. You should ask your doctor what additional things you could do to help with your recovery without solely relying on painkillers.  

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