Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

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 Serenity Knolls Treatment Center 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, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at Serenity Knolls Treatment Center.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services 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 receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are 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.

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

Causes & Effects of Prescription Painkiller Addiction

Understanding Prescription Painkiller Addiction

Learn About Prescription Painkiller Addiction & Abuse

Prescription painkillers have unquestionably improved the quality of life for countless individuals throughout the United States and in many other nations. Unfortunately, when these medications are misused, they also have the potential to inflict great harm. Many of the most powerful prescription medications contain synthetic or semi-synthetic opioids, which share certain structural and functional similarities with substances that are derived from the opium poppy plant.

Among the more commonly prescribed opioid-based prescription painkillers are OxyContin, which contains oxycodone, Vicodin, which contains hydrocodone, and Dilaudid, which contains hydromorphone. The opioids in each of these medications are included for their analgesic properties; however, as is the case with other opioids, they also induce euphoria, relaxation, and elevated mood. These effects make opioid-based prescription painkillers attractive to individuals who are in search of a recreational high. Regardless of why a person begins to use a prescription painkiller, he or she is always at risk of becoming dependent. This risk is lessened when a person uses a prescription painkiller as directed by and under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider. The risk increases when a person abuses a prescription painkiller, either recreationally or for purposes of self-medication.

When a person becomes addicted to or dependent upon an opioid-based prescription painkiller, he or she may find it extremely difficult to overcome this problem without effective professional intervention. Among the many obstacles that can prevent individuals from overcoming opioid dependence are the distressing withdrawal symptoms that can set in soon after a person stops or reduces his or her opioid abuse.

Luckily, treatment professionals with experience can work with men and women who have struggled with prescription painkiller abuse, and specialized programming exists that has proved to be effective at helping individuals end their dependence upon these medications.


Prescription Painkiller Abuse Statistics

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that about more than five million Americans engage in prescription painkiller abuse in a typical 12-month period. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the annual death rate from prescription painkiller overdose among women rose by more than 415% between 2000 and 2010. Over the same 10-year period, the annual death rate among men due to prescription painkiller misuse increased by 200%.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Prescription Painkiller Abuse

A person’s risk for abusing and becoming addicted to prescription painkillers can be influenced by several factors, including the following:

Genetic: According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), about 40% of the risk variance for a substance use disorder is due to genetics. A person whose parents and/or siblings have struggled with substance abuse and addiction is more likely to have a similar problem than is an individual who has no family history of these problems. The APA also reports that impulsivity and novelty are among the heritable traits that may increase a person’s risk for developing an opioid use disorder, which is the clinical term for being addicted to or dependent upon opioids.

Environmental: Individuals who live in a culture in which prescription painkiller use is common may have an increased risk of abusing and becoming dependent upon these medications. Other environmental factors that can increase a person’s risk of prescription painkiller abuse and addiction include experiencing a disease or injury that is treated with a prescription painkiller.

Risk Factors:

  • Age (prescription drug abuse is most common among older adolescents and young adults)
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Personal history of mental illness and/or prior substance abuse
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Easy access to prescription painkillers
  • Early exposure to prescription painkillers
  • Experiencing acute or chronic pain
  • Poor impulse control
  • Novelty seeking personality
Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

No single symptom or set of symptoms will universally apply to all cases of prescription painkiller abuse, but the following are among the more common signs and symptoms of this problem:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Trying to steal or borrow painkillers that have been prescribed to someone else
  • Attempting to get prescriptions for painkillers from multiple doctors
  • Continuing to abuse prescription painkillers even after experiencing negative effects as a result of prior use
  • Using prescription painkillers prior to driving a car, when consuming alcohol, or at other times when it is obviously dangerous to do so
  • Trying and failing to end one’s use of prescription painkillers
  • Associating with individuals who abuse prescription painkillers

Physical symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Heavy sweating
  • Appetite change (either increase or decrease)
  • Weight change (either increase or decrease)
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Shallow or slowed breathing
  • Significant change in blood pressure
  • Coordination impairments

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Problems with memory
  • Confusion
  • Impaired ability to focus and/or concentrate
  • Temporary periods of hyper-focus
  • Racing thoughts

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Extreme shifts in mood
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Loss of interest in significant activities
  • Withdrawal from social circles
Lasting Effects

Effects of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

An individual who continues to abuse prescription painkillers and does not receive effective treatment may be at increased risk for several negative effects, including the following:

  • Cognitive impairments
  • Heart damage
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Damage to other organs
  • Impaired vision
  • Physical injuries due to impaired coordination and/or judgment
  • Family discord
  • Damaged or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Academic setbacks, including failure
  • Substandard job performance
  • Job loss
  • Unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Social isolation
  • Homelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts
Co-Occurring Disorders

Prescription Painkiller Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

People who struggle with prescription painkiller abuse and addiction may also have an elevated risk for the following co-occurring mental health conditions:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other substance use disorders
Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Prescription Painkiller Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of prescription painkiller withdrawal: When a person has become dependent upon a prescription painkiller, attempting to stop or significantly reduce one’s abuse of these medications may trigger the onset of several distressing withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Intense cravings for the painkiller that one has been abusing
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Cramping in the abdomen
  • Hot flashes
  • Cold sweats
  • Pain in muscles and bones
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Psychomotor retardation or agitation
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, and loss of motivation
  • Anxiety and/or irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Effects of prescription painkiller overdose: An individual who ingests a prescription painkiller in an amount that overwhelms his or her body’s ability to process the medication should be brought to the immediate attention of a qualified medical professional. The following are among the more common symptoms of prescription painkiller overdose:

  • Bluish coloration near lips and fingertips
  • Unconsciousness
  • Shallow or rapid breathing
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Extreme confusion and/or disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Coma
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Serenity Knolls helped me find myself. Treatment was challenging but so worth it. Three years later, I have continued with my recovery and am strong in my sobriety. I have the tools – and even more importantly, the support from my family and Serenity Knolls to get me through tough times.

– Kate M.