It can be extremely difficult to live with chronic pain. It’s often hard to diagnose the underlying cause, so painkillers are a common method of dealing with this medical condition.
Among these painkillers are a class of drugs called opioids which are widely prescribed for chronic pain. Unfortunately, these drugs also have an addictive quality. In the United States, as many as 1 in 4 people can be addicted to prescription drugs.1 It also becomes a danger when these drugs become accessible to teenagers, and young adults who are especially vulnerable to substance abuse. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take toward preventing chances of addiction.
1. Talk To Your Doctor
Your doctor will alert you if any drugs that he/she prescribes have addictive qualities. If this concerns you, make sure to discuss alternate forms of medication. You may be able to control
2. Tell Your Doctor About Risk Factors
There are certain risk factors that make you vulnerable to developing an addiction. These risk factors include:
- Previous addictions or alcoholism
- A heavy drinking habit
- Any form of substance abuse in the past.
You should also let your doctor know about any other supplements you may be taking since these pills can have dangerous interactions with other medications or substances like alcohol.
3. Use Them For A Short While
If your physician decides to prescribe these drugs for you, make sure it is at the lowest dosage for the shortest
4. Use Them Only As Prescribed
Regardless of your levels of pain or discomfort, do not try to change the dosage of your prescription by yourself. Keep your doctor updated about your progress and alert him/her if you think your pain isn’t effectively under control.
5. Keep Medication Out Of Reach
Do not let others in your family have access to your medication, especially young teenagers. Strangely enough, 70% of prescription drug addicts get access to opioids from a family member’s or friend’s prescription.3 Keep your pills in a locked box or safe that would be difficult to steal from. Keep track of your
6. Get Help
If you’re really worried about developing an addiction, give the responsibility of handing you your medication to someone else. Make sure that this person is trustworthy and reliable. If they have control over your dosage, you have no opportunity to seek out more than you’ve already been prescribed. They must also have the authority to speak up or contact your doctor if they notice any signs of misuse.
7. Always Take Your Dosage On Time
Most people ignore their daily dosage because they don’t think their pain is
8. Keep Track Of Your Pain
Since pain is subjective, doctors have to rely on their patients’ feedback. Keep a journal to record the progression of your pain along with steps you may be taking to reduce it such as exercise or physiotherapy. Do not exaggerate when your doctor asks you to rate your pain. This reduces the risk of your doctor refilling prescriptions when you might not need it. This is one area that you are solely in control of, so you’ll need to be completely honest with your physician.
9. Know The Signs Of A Painkiller Addiction
Knowing the signs can help you recognize when you need to seek help. Educate your family and friends to recognize the signs as well. Symptoms of dependence or addiction include:
- Developing tolerance to the medication
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms when stopping or reducing dosage
- Going out of your way to find medication even when you know it is harmful
Addiction can be painful to deal with in any form, so any fear you may have concerning painkillers is perfectly normal. Surrounding yourself with supportive and attentive family and friends can help reduce the risk of addiction in the first place. Remember that most people who use painkillers do not get addicted. In fact, over 97% of those who use opioids don’t experience addiction.4 Use these tips to make sure that you’re not part of the remaining 3%.
|↑1||CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention|
|↑2||CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention|
|↑3||Painkillers fuel growth in drug addiction. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑4||Caution: These are the most addictive pain meds. Harvard Health Publications.|