Demerol Symptoms and Warning Signs

Demerol is the brand name under which the drug Meperidine is sold. It is used to provide relief for moderate to severe pain, which occurs alongside medical conditions such as heart attacks, cancer and severe accidents, in addition to labour and childbirth. It is rarely prescribed for use outside of a medical setting, because it is a potent opioid narcotic. Demerol induces feelings of giddiness and pleasure, in addition to its powerful analgesic properties, and can be highly addictive.

If you abuse this drug, you’re likely to develop a psychological and physical dependency, which can result in difficult symptoms of withdrawal when you stop using it. Knowing the signs and symptoms of Demerol abuse and addiction can help you recognise a substance use disorder – even before it takes hold – in order to protect you or a loved one from having to endure the nightmare of addiction.

Recognising the Common Warning Signs of Demerol Abuse

Like other opiate painkillers, this drug has a high risk of abuse, due to its pleasure-inducing and euphoric effects, especially when injected or snorted.  The signs of abuse tend to differ from one person to the next, but there are a number of common symptoms to look out for. Some of these include: slowed breathing, constipation, small pupils, nausea, vomiting, euphoria, confusion and drowsiness.

It is important to do something once you notice that you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the above symptoms. Persisting in Demerol abuse will only lead to serious problems such as dependence and addiction, along with the issues that accompany them.

The Dangers of Demerol Abuse

When taken as prescribed, you shouldn’t encounter any problems. However, you should be wary if you start using Demerol for its pleasurable or calming effects. Abusing this drug comes with certain dangers you would rather not deal with. These include health issues ranging from drowsiness to more dangerous problems like respiratory depression.

There is also the risk of overdose, which can be serious to the point of being fatal. Other dangers of abuse include the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms when you take a break from the medication; the development of tolerance and physical dependence; and in some cases, death. It’s best to speak to a physician before attempting to adjust your dosage, because it’s possible to abuse the drug unintentionally.

Recognising a Demerol Addiction

Once you’re aware of the signs and symptoms of addiction, you should be able to tell if you or a loved one is addicted to Demerol. It’s not easy to hide such symptoms, so they should not be too difficult to spot, especially those of a physical and behavioural nature.

The symptoms of this drug tend to vary from one person to the next, so you’re likely to experience a different set of symptoms as someone else. Those you experience may vary, depending on factors such as the frequency of abuse, how long you’ve been abusing the drug, your body’s level of addiction and your genetic makeup.

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Physical symptoms

Some of the physical symptoms to look out for (if you suspect you or a loved one is addicted to Demerol) include: dizziness, constipation, sedation, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, pruritus, headache, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, disorientation, stroke, heart attack, seizures, sweating, kidney problems, liver problems and death.

Other physical symptoms include: agitation, bone pain, muscle pain, flu-like symptoms, restlessness, tremors, insomnia, runny nose, anxiety, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. All of these don’t necessarily have to occur at simultaneously.

Behavioural symptoms

Behavioural symptoms of addiction include those that are related to the way you act in order to keep using the drug without interference. These include extreme drug-seeking behaviours, such as buying the drug via illegal channels; requesting Demerol specifically at the doctor’s; taking prescriptions meant for other people; frequently visiting hospital; ‘doctor-shopping’ by going to different doctors to obtain more prescriptions; and forging prescriptions.

Other behavioural symptoms you may notice include: combining Demerol with other prescription drugs or alcohol; crushing pills before injecting or snorting them; crushing pills before swallowing; neglecting responsibilities; withdrawing from pleasurable activities; stashing the drug in various places around the home or workplace; borrowing or stealing money from loved ones and friends; lying about drug use; increasing the dose to achieve the same results; and craving the medication.

Psychological Symptoms

The psychological symptoms of addiction affect the brain and psyche. Such symptoms may include psychosis, delusions, hallucinations, worsening depression and an exacerbation of mental illness symptoms. Given that mood is also controlled by the brain, you could notice some mood changes such as irritability, agitation, impulsiveness, unremitting anxiety, intense mood swings and depression.

Being addicted to Demerol could mean that you have an undiagnosed or untreated psychological condition. Some of the most common include: alcoholism, addiction to another substance, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, anxiety disorders and depressive disorders.

Learn the Immediate Side Effects of Demerol Abuse

Being an opiate, Demerol produces powerful analgesic effects, which makes it especially effective for managing relatively severe pain. The effects of using this medication don’t stop there, because it also induces highly pleasurable and euphoric effects. There are a number of short-term effects that you might notice if you become intoxicated with the drug.

These effects can include: slowed breathing, slowed pulse rate, slowed movement, slurred speech, pinpoint pupils, low body temperature, low blood pressure, constipation, nausea, confusion, drowsiness and intermittent nodding off, muscle weakness, sweating, dry mouth, changes in mood, lowered body temperature, vomiting, arrhythmias, hallucinations, urinary retention, rashes or hives, twitching and uncontrollable shaking of the hands.

Learn the Long-Term Side Effects of Demerol Abuse

Long-term abuse of this drug can result in side effects that not only affect your physical and mental health, but also your social life and personal relationships, as well as other areas of your life. While some of these effects may be mild, most are severe and must be taken seriously. Long-term abuse can lead to psychological and physical dependence, which can eventually result in addiction. Being dependent on the drug means you will experience withdrawal symptoms whenever you try to stop.

Other side effects include: potentially fatal respiratory depression; permanent brain damage as a result of the brain not receiving sufficient oxygen (hypoxia); infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV (if you share needles); and depression. There is also the possibility of experiencing seizures, tremors and agitation, due to a build-up of the metabolite normeperidine, which can be neurotoxic if there is a build-up in neural tissues, resulting from repeatedly taking a high dosage.

If abuse continues for such a long time that it results in dependency or addiction, you may have to deal with effects such as social isolation, divorce, job loss, alcoholism and anxiety disorders.

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Intervention for a Demerol Addiction

If you have a friend, colleague or relative who is dependent upon (or addicted to) Demerol, you may need to stage an intervention to help them get the assistance they need, especially if you’ve been trying to convince them to do so. Staging an intervention means you can confront them about their drug problem. This is undertaken in a non-adversarial way and is aimed at making the addict understand the effects of their behaviour in the hopes of getting them to willingly seek treatment.

An intervention requires the presence of the closest family members, friends or colleagues who might be most affected by the person’s addiction. The consequences for staying away from rehab need to be outlined, as determined by the family. The ultimate goal is to ensure that your addicted loved one accepts to start treatment immediately. However, if they still refuse treatment, the family must enforce the consequences they outlined.

Detox and Withdrawal from Demerol

If you stop taking this drug after you’ve been taking it for an extended period of time, there’s a good chance you’ll experience intense physical withdrawal, given the fact that Demerol is a highly potent, physically addictive drug. Physical withdrawal can be painful, but with medical care in a controlled setting, it can be managed.

Some signs of physical withdrawal which you may experience include nausea, vomiting, fever and the semblance of being physically ill. You can get through withdrawal safely and in relative comfort if you opt for detox in a proper treatment centre. There, you can be administered medications to ease your symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Demerol

Experts strongly advise against trying to detox outside a medical setting, especially if you’ve been addicted to the medication for a long time. While the symptoms of withdrawal may range from mild to severe, they can be so intense that they endanger your health. Some of these symptoms may include irritability and restlessness, insomnia, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and chills, anxiety and agitation, tremors, as well as bone and muscle pain.

Other symptoms you could experience include dilated pupils, sweating, runny nose, cold flashes and involuntary leg movements.

Demerol Overdose

When using this drug, you need to be concerned about overdosing, because the possibility of doing so is always there. If you take the drug in high doses to the point of overdosing, you may have to deal with respiratory depression. Should this happen, you won’t receive sufficient oxygen and this is so dangerous that it could prove fatal.

Apart from taking high doses, you can put yourself at risk of overdosing if you inject the drug, snort it or mix it with other substances. You could also be at a higher risk of an overdose if you have psychological or medical conditions such as depression and HIV.

Signs of Demerol Overdose

When you know the signs of an overdose and are able to differentiate them from those of abuse and addiction, you might then be able to save your own life or someone else’s. Signs of overdosing include: coma, fainting or syncope, dizziness or vertigo, blurry vision, extreme fatigue, respiratory depression, slow heart rate or bradycardia, loss of muscle strength, as well as cold, clammy skin. You may also notice that the nail beds, tongue and lips have a bluish tinge.

If you notice any of these symptoms, get some medical attention immediately, because intoxication can potentially cause death.

Treatment and Next Steps

Staying addicted or allowing a loved one to do so is not an option, because addiction only worsens the longer it is allowed to fester. There is always the risk of having an accident or dying from an overdose, whilst under the drug’s influence. Addiction affects many areas of a person’s life and can lead to finances deteriorating, loved ones leaving and a general dissatisfaction with life.

It can be physically uncomfortable and emotionally exhausting to get treatment, but it’s something that must be done. You can speak to a local addiction counsellor or reach out to an addiction treatment helpline for the treatment you need.


Can anyone tell I am using Demerol?

Anyone who knows the signs and symptoms of Demerol abuse should be able to tell that you’re using the drug. Some of the signs they may notice include: unusual sleeping patterns, constant itching, slowed breathing, disorientation, profuse sweating, constant fatigue and unusually constricted pupils, amongst others.

Is it possible to prevent Demerol abuse symptoms?

Yes, it is possible. To prevent the signs and symptoms of abuse, you will have to avoid abusing the medication in the first place. If you don’t possess a legal prescription, don’t try to source Demerol illegally; however, if you do have a prescription, follow it to the letter.

How can I prevent the signs and symptoms of addiction withdrawal?

In order to avoid dealing with the potentially problematic signs of withdrawal, you need to enrol for medical detox in a treatment facility. With the application of appropriate medications and a tapering method that weans you off the drug by lowering your doses over time, you shouldn’t experience any severe withdrawal symptoms.

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