When dealing with an injury or symptom of sickness, medication is most often prescribed either by a doctor or purchased over the counter. Medications purchased over the counter may easily resolve the symptom or injury before needing to be seen by a doctor – this typically involves minor cuts or scratches, a small headache or chronic pain. Other instances, which require being seen by a doctor, may involve medication that could become very addictive. Whether taking medication as prescribed or over the counter, it is very important to keep a close eye on your use to ensure you do not become dependent or addicted to the medication you’re using.
Opioids are a common medication used to relieve pain from surgery or other health concerns. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drugs that are considered opioids are “Oxycontin”, “Vicodin”, codeine, and morphine. If taken as prescribed and for a brief period they may be relatively safe, but if taken in higher doses and more often, could lead to dangerous consequences. Kara Robinson, writer for WebMD, has noted several ways to note if you or a loved one are addicted to pain medication:
- Becoming pre-occupied with thinking about the medication. If you find yourself thinking about taking the medication often, you may be bordering dependency.
- Taking different amounts than your doctor prescribed. If you are taking more of the medication and more frequently to still feel relaxed, you may be on the road to addiction.
- Doctor shopping. People who are addicted to medication may “see” several different doctors to get multiple prescriptions.
- Getting pain medication from other sources. Ordering the medication online, taking them from a friend, hurting yourself so that you can get medication from the hospital and buying them directly off the street are just a few serious signs of addiction.
- You have a long history with pain killers. If you’ve been taking the medication long after your pain has dissipated, you may be addicted.
- You feel angry when someone talks to you about your medication use. If you find yourself becoming defensive about your medication habits, you may have a problem.
- You’re not yourself. Addiction causes us to behave and think in ways that we normally wouldn’t – if medication is changing you, you need to speak with a doctor.
Sarah Elizabeth Richards, journalist and writer for the Huffington Post, suggested in an article she posted earlier this year to speak with your loved one if you suspect they are addicted to pain medication. Begin a gentle, non-confrontational approach to see what their stance is on the subject. If your loved one is willing to receive help, try to have them speak with a doctor about their medication use. Taking action to help them and yourself could prevent a possible overdose.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665