Many of today’s drug rehab centers craft programs around addictions spawned from pain management. Sadly, most who use strong pain medications will be exposed to the possibilities of addiction. Not everyone becomes dependent on these medications, but everyone deserves to know their inherent risks.
Pain Management Medications
Opioid addiction is a consistent problem in the U.S., and it’s only becoming more prevalent. New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research has identified how easy it is to become hooked on these opioids, suggesting that many who are prescribed them for short-term use still take them a year later.
Prescription data of nearly 1.3 million non-cancer patients prescribed one-day prescriptions revealed something startling: Those with one-day opioid prescriptions have a six percent chance of being on the drug one year later. Those who take opioids for 12 days, meanwhile, have nearly a 25 percent chance of being on the drug one year later. Individuals with month long prescriptions have a 30 percent chance of continuing their prescription after a year.
Opioids used for pain management are available in several forms, including:
Those with chronic pain may accidentally form a physical dependency on these drugs because their bodies have become habituated to them. If they stop taking them abruptly, they may even experience painful withdrawal symptoms. Similarly, patients may develop a tolerance to these drugs—needing higher dosages to achieve the same level of relief as treatment persists.
The Signs of Addiction
Effective drug treatment requires an in-depth understanding of dependency and addiction. It’s important to be able to identify the signs of dependency, either in yourself or in a loved one. Pain management specialists draw a clear distinction between dependency and addiction, considering addiction to be a disorder which expands well beyond typical physical dependency. Addictive behavior includes:
- A craving for the drugs
- The compulsive use of the drugs
- The inability to control drug usage
- Continued drug usage despite mental, financial, physical or social harm
Drug rehab may be needed if an individual displays these clear signs of pain medication addiction. Signs of addiction can also manifest in day-to-day situations, too. If someone managing pain takes multiple doses of their medication, feels they need a rapid increase of the medication or “doctor shops” for additional prescriptions, they may need help.
Addicted individuals learn to crave their medications. They may also feel they’re unable to slow, let alone stop, their use. Additionally, their medication use may interfere with their ability to perform tasks, enjoy their favorite activities or even enjoy day-to-day life.
Preventing Addiction During Pain Management
There are ways to reduce the chances of a prescription drug addiction. Firstly, it’s important to read the directions for your pain medication. Follow them closely. Contact your medical provider with any questions. You should also talk to your pharmacist about possible drug interactions, too. Sometimes, these interactions can alter the way a substance works—increasing the chances of both withdrawal and addiction.
If you feel you need to change your dosage, increase the frequency of your medication or change your treatment, don’t be afraid to say so. Don’t take medications prescribed to another person, and don’t experiment with different doses based on your own understanding of the medication.
When in Doubt, Ask for Assistance
It’s never too early, or too late, to ask for professional help. If you’re prescribed opioids and have concerns—contact your health provider. If you feel you’re becoming dependent or addicted, contact your health provider. Or, if you or a loved one is currently addicted to pain medication, consider contacting a rehab provider immediately. Addiction can be seductive, quickly eliminating one’s ability to determine whether or not they need help.
Today, over 30 percent of Americans have some form of either acute or chronic pain. Opioid analgesics relieve this pain, but they’re incredibly dangerous if not taken correctly. It’s possible to receive the support needed to counter this addiction, however, and it’s similarly possible to reduce the chances of dependency before it begins. Addiction assistance, and even rehab can be affordable and accessible. Today’s providers have quite a lot of experience helping patients, and they can improve your lifestyle while protecting your long-term health.