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Medical advances have grown by leaps and bounds over the past 30 years. From less-invasive surgical techniques to tendon reconstructions and whole joint replacements, medical mediations available to those requiring surgical assistance continue to defy expectation.

However, with all these technological and medical advances, the need for comprehensive pain management remains rooted in two specific arenas: physical therapy and medicinal interventions.

While the process of physically working someone through their pain and recovery can be a time consuming and tedious progression, painkillers provide a quick fix for those experiencing serious physical discomfort.

But at what cost is this expedited pain relief being provided to patients?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine reported that of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, two million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.

From increased prescription rates to poor physician oversight, the reasons for this influx in painkiller addiction can be traced back to a number of precipitating factors.

The damage this disease has had on the communities around all of us is evident, but the physical toll painkiller addiction has on the user’s body is more pervasive than most addicts can comprehend.

If you’re wondering, “Can painkillers cause kidney damage?,” read on to discover the destructive impact painkiller addiction can have on a person’s long-term kidney function and methods for addressing this addiction.

Can Painkillers Cause Kidney Damage?

The short answer is yes; painkillers can cause extensive kidney damage when used inappropriately and for an extended amount of time.

While painkillers can be safely used in certain scenarios, renal toxicity or toxicity in the kidneys arises when the prescribed method of consumption is exceeded or outright ignored. For those dealing with a painkiller addiction, adherence to established prescription guidelines and safety recommendations is nonexistent.

The need to use increasingly higher amounts of the painkiller grows with the length of time the substance is used and the increased tolerance associated with long-term addiction. This chronic use of painkillers results in greater incidents of toxicity due to an accumulation of metabolites within an addict’s liver and kidneys.

The problem is these organs – in particular the kidneys – function as sophisticated ‘trash collectors’ within the human body. They remove unwanted waste products and extra water from the blood within our bodies.

When an individual becomes addicted to painkillers, they experience bouts of extreme dehydration, hypotension and urinary retention, which has been shown to force the kidneys to function in an excessive manner, resulting in acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease.

Kidney Damage Caused by Painkillers

As previously stated, the kidneys function as a sophisticated waste removal system for the blood flowing through your veins.

When this system is disrupted or neglected for an extended amount of time, the negative effects on the body as a whole can range from minor physical complications to total system failure. In particular, acute kidney failure and kidney disease can cause an individual to lose the ability to remove harmful products from their bloodstream, resulting in the following symptoms:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Fluid buildup within the lungs
  • Extensive muscle weakness
  • Permanent kidney damage
  • Death

The important thing to recognize with painkiller addiction is that the damage to the kidneys can be reversible if addressed on time.

If you are abusing painkillers and experiencing any of the previously stated symptoms, it is imperative that you contact a physician immediately to discuss the issue.

For an in-depth breakdown of how prescription painkillers affect the mind and body, read our posts on opioid addiction and the mind and opioid addiction and the body.

Painkillers and Kidney Damage: The Destruction Can Be Treated

Understanding the dangers of painkiller addiction, and the maladaptive impact this disease has on both the kidneys and the entire body as a whole, creates a situation in which knowledge equates power: The power to understand the dangers of continued painkiller use, as well as the power to overcome the addiction and heal your body and mind.

However, defeating an addiction is no simple task and one that should not be taken lightly. Relying on your own power and ability to conquer the disease of addiction can leave you feeling
lost and hopeless, searching for the strength to continue when facing the temptation to relapse.

Always remember that Christ promised to support us through these times and carry us when we feel too weak to walk ourselves. Leaning on that strength and support can provide the necessary encouragement throughout the journey of rehabilitation. Asking for that help is the first step in achieving personal success and sustained sobriety.

Christian-Based Painkiller Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills

You only get one life and one body – make the most of yours by putting opioid addiction behind you.

At Covenant Hills Treatment Center, your whole-body health is our main priority. Restore your body, mind and faith in God while expelling the addiction that has ruled your life for far too long.

Learn about our Christian-based opioid and prescription drug addiction treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.


American Society of Addiction Medicine. Opioid Addiction Facts & Figures. September 9, 2018.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information. What Do We Know about Opioids and the Kidney? Accessed September 9, 2018.

Mayo Clinic. Acute Kidney Failure. Accessed September 9, 2018.