Demerol Abuse Causes and Effects

Sunrise Recovery Ranch provides Demerol addiction treatment rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier, more satisfying life, without addiction.

Understanding Demerol

Learn about Demerol and substance abuse

Demerol is a medication that is commonly used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Demerol is an opioid, a category of powerful painkillers that also includes morphine, Vicodin, codeine, heroin, and opium. When used as prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider, Demerol can provide relief from pain; however, when it is misused or abused, it can cause a person to experience a powerful euphoric high. A person who engages in Demerol abuse may experience considerable damage in various aspects of his or her life.

While Demerol abuse can severely impact a person’s ability to function effectively in his or her day-to-day life, there is help available for those who seek it. With comprehensive and compassionate care from an expert treatment team, it is possible to release the grip that Demerol abuse can hold over a person’s life.


Demerol addiction statistics

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, approximately 0.4% of people abuse opioids in a given year, with men abusing these drugs at a rate about 1.5 times greater than that of women. Opioid abuse is most common among adults under the age of 30.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Demerol addiction

While addiction and drug abuse are complicated issues with several causal and risk factors, researchers have identified that genetic factors seem to play a primary role in determining an individual’s risk of abusing an opioid drug like Demerol. Consider the following:

Genetic: While researchers have identified a number of environmental factors that can influence a person’s chances of developing an opioid use disorder, they argue that these factors are rooted in genetics. For example, environmental factors such as family relationships and elements of individual temperament such as impulsivity and novelty-seeking all can act as environmental influences that may encourage a person to abuse opioids like Demerol. However, family relationships and an individual’s temperament may themselves be determined genetically, indicating that genetics can be foundational in determining an individual’s risk of developing an opioid use disorder.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of substance use
  • Impulsive or novelty-seeking temperament
  • Having ready access to Demerol

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Demerol addiction

While each individual’s struggle with Demerol use will look different and include different signs and symptoms, the following are some common signs and symptoms that may suggest a person is abusing Demerol:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Continuing to abuse Demerol despite being aware of the physical or psychological problems it is likely causing
  • Abusing Demerol even when it is physically hazardous to do so
  • Failing to fulfill important obligations at home or work because of Demerol abuse
  • Spending lots of time obtaining, using, or recovering from use of Demerol
  • Being unsuccessful in efforts to reduce one’s use of Demerol
  • Taking Demerol in larger quantities or over a greater period of time than one intends

Physical symptoms:

  • Tolerance, or needing to use increasing amounts of Demerol to achieve a high

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Having strong cravings for Demerol

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Neglecting important social, occupational, or recreational activities in favor of abusing Demerol
  • Abusing Demerol despite suffering negative interpersonal consequences for doing so


Effects of Demerol addiction

When one abuses Demerol for an extended period of time, he or she is at risk of experiencing a number of negative effects, such as:

  • Social difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Relational strain
  • Poor work performance, resulting in possible job loss
  • Financial struggles
  • Legal problems
  • Dry mouth and nose
  • Constipation
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Onset or worsening of mental health symptoms
  • Polysubstance use, addiction, or chemical dependency
  • Birth complications
  • Birth defects
  • Elevated suicide risk

Co-Occurring Disorders

Demerol addiction and co-occurring disorders

Unfortunately, people who abuse Demerol are at risk for a number of co-occurring disorders, such as:

  • Other substance use disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Demerol withdrawal & overdose

Effects of Demerol withdrawal: If a person abuses Demerol for an extended period of time and then attempts to stop using it, he or she may experience a number of negative effects, which may include:

  • Aching muscles
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Depressed mood
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Yawning
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fever

Effects of Demerol overdose: People who abuse Demerol run the risk of ingesting more than their bodies can safely metabolize or excrete. In these situations, the person will experience an overdose. A Demerol overdose can be fatal, and may include some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Clammy skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slow heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Fainting
  • Coma

Thanks to Sunrise Recovery Ranch, my daughter was able to get the lasting recovery she deserved from her addiction and her co-occurring mental health disorder. I am super grateful!

– Michelle A.
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These accreditations are an official recognition of our dedication to providing treatment that exceeds the standards and best practices of quality care.
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Department of Health Care Services

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