Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Life Center of Galax to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Life Center of Galax.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Prescription Painkiller Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Understanding Prescription Painkiller Addiction

Learn about prescription painkiller addiction & abuse

Developed in order to alleviate the discomfort of chronic pain conditions, or to help regulate the pain that is frequently associated with certain medical procedures, injuries, medical conditions, severe illnesses, or other types of diseases, prescription pain medications are a beneficial source of relief for those who are suffering from these types of concerns. With their potent effects on the central nervous system and their ability to purposefully block pain receptors, however, these painkillers also elicit feelings of pleasure and euphoria, especially when abused.

Belonging to the classification of drugs known as opioids, prescription painkillers are a type of opiate narcotic that are extremely addictive, due to the ways that they interact with the central nervous system. That addictive property, coupled with the pleasurable sensations and feelings of detachment from reality that can be induced by the ingestion of this substance, is what makes prescription painkillers one of the most frequently abused substances in society today.

Once an addiction to prescription painkillers has developed, it can be extremely difficult to overcome without the help of qualified professionals. Fortunately, there are many viable options for care that can assist individuals in overcoming their addictions and returning to a life of sobriety.


Prescription painkiller abuse statistics

The abuse of prescription medications of all kinds is an ongoing problem in the United States and throughout the world as a whole. While there are many kinds of prescription medications that are abused, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription painkillers are abused in much greater numbers than are other types of prescription medications, including stimulants and tranquilizers. More specifically, in 2010 alone, of the millions of people who reportedly abused these three categories of prescription drugs, 1.1 million people were said to have used stimulants, 2.2 million used tranquilizers, and an astounding 5.1 million used painkillers. Estimates have also been provided that suggest that the number of prescription painkiller-related deaths has nearly tripled over the last twenty years, exceeding the number of deaths related to cocaine and heroin. Furthermore, individuals who abuse prescription painkillers are also at a heightened risk for going onto abuse, and subsequently become addicted to, heroin.

Causes & Risks

Causes and risk factors for prescription painkiller abuse

Experts and researchers in the fields of mental health and addiction agree that there are likely a number of factors working together that cause some individuals to be more susceptible to developing an addiction to substances like prescription painkillers than others are. Consider the following explanations:

Genetic: Long known to run in families, addiction is said to have a genetic link to its onset. When individuals has first-degree biological family member who struggle with drug abuse, addiction, and dependence, they are at a higher risk for suffering from similar chemical dependency concerns at some point in their lives as well.

Environmental: Environmental factors often play a large role in enhancing an individual’s vulnerability to developing an addiction to substances, such as prescription pain medication. The most notable of such factors would be when individuals find themselves in a situation where their physical health has deteriorated in such a way that it has left them in need of prescription pain medications in order to find alleviation from their distress (e.g. suffering from chronic pain or having to undergo surgery). The exposure that these people subsequently have to prescription painkillers makes them much more susceptible to developing an addiction to this detrimental substance. Additionally, individuals who are exposed to the abuse of various substances, whether they be prescription painkillers or something else, tend to view the behavior as being something that is acceptable and are therefore more likely to engage in that type of behavior themselves.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of chemical dependency concerns
  • Personal history of abusing other substances
  • Personal and/or family history of mental health conditions
  • Suffering from chronic pain or another type of medical condition of which pain is symptomatic
  • Exposure to drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Ease of access that a person has in order to obtain painkillers
  • Being the victim of abuse and/or neglect
  • Peer pressure
Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of prescription painkiller abuse

The signs and symptoms that are displayed by individuals who abuse prescription painkillers will vary depending upon a number of different factors. Below are examples of various behavioral, physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that may manifest in an individuals who abusing prescription pain medication:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Alterations in one’s level of energy
  • No longer engaging in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Inability to adhere to responsibilities at work and home
  • Increased effort placed on seeking out drugs
  • Going to various doctors in order to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Faking pain or fabricating illness in order to obtain medication
  • Lying
  • Stealing

Physical symptoms:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness / fatigue
  • Chronic headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Constricted pupils
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Pervasive itching
  • Flushed skin
  • Difficulty breathing

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory disturbances
  • Lacking the ability to use appropriate decision-making skills
  • Extreme confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Dissociation

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Inability to effectively regulate emotions
  • Drastically oscillating moods
  • Heightened levels of depression
  • Heightened levels of anxiety
  • Excessive feelings of agitation
  • Excessive feelings of irritability
  • Irrational feelings of fear / paranoia
  • Suicidal ideation

Effects of prescription painkiller abuse

The abuse of prescription pain medication can negatively impact all areas of an individual’s life. Depending on the specific type of painkiller that has been abused, the length of the abuse, and the frequency of the abuse itself, the type and severity of such effects will inevitably vary. Examples of possible detriments that can arise from the prolonged abuse of prescription painkillers can include:

  • Interaction with law enforcement as the result of forging prescriptions
  • Decline in the quality and quantity of interpersonal relationships
  • Social withdrawal / isolation
  • Failure to perform at the expected level occupationally
  • Job loss / ongoing unemployment
  • Financial strife
  • Increased risk for developing health problems
  • Liver damage / liver failure
  • Seizures
  • Onset of symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders, and/or other mental health conditions
  • Respiratory depression
  • Irreversible cognitive impairment
  • Overall decline in physical and mental health
Co-Occurring Disorders

Prescription painkiller abuse & co-occurring disorders

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals who struggle with chemical dependency concerns, including an addiction to prescription painkillers, to also meet clinical criteria for additional mental health conditions. Some of the most commonly cited of such conditions that are known to occur alongside the abuse of prescription pain medication include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Personality disorders
  • Other substance use disorders

I was prescribed Vicodin after a surgery but was soon abusing it. For 3 years, I used prescription painkillers before deciding I didn't like who I had become. Galax helped me turn my life around and for that I'm so grateful.

– Jessica
Take a Free Online Assessment

An important first step toward treatment of and recovery from addiction.

Marks of Quality Care
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Tricare
  • The Jason Foundation
  • why this matters...