Painkillers are supposed to help you get through difficult injuries and recovery periods. Yet, over-prescription of them has led to a significant epidemic in the U.S. In 2017, 1.7 million people in the U.S. suffered from some level of substance abuse disorder resulting from the use of these medications (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Could you be one of these people?
Could You Be Addicted?
Perhaps you have chronic pain. If you don’t use pain medications to treat it, you may be unable to walk, manage the day’s tasks, or even get out of bed. But after being on medications for a prolonged time, how can you tell whether it’s the health condition that is still causing the pain or whether the pain is now a symptom of addiction?
It’s important to never stop taking medications unless your doctor tells you to. However, for men and women dealing with painkiller addiction, it’s always important to seek out alternate, natural ways to relieve pain. Opioid-based painkillers, including codeine, Darvocet, Demerol, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl, are highly addictive. The more you use them, the more you’ll need to turn off the pain receptors in your brain.
Ultimately, many people die as a result of overdosing on these drugs as they seek a way to reduce their pain. The same study cited above found that 47,000 people in the U.S. died in 2017 as a result of overuse or abuse of opioid painkillers.
Ask Yourself If You Have an Addiction
Be honest with yourself about your painkiller use. Ask yourself these questions.
- If you miss a dose or take it later than usual, do you suffer an incredible level of pain? Do you find that this pain makes you crave more pain medications?
- Do you run out of pain medications before your prescription is ready to be refilled?
- Do you find that you are missing responsibilities and not performing as well at work or school because of your use?
- How do you look and feel? Are you eating and sleeping well? Are you lapsing on your personal hygiene?
- Are your cravings for the drug constant? Do you think about when you can take it again? Do you frequently check to make sure you have enough?
- When it is time to refill your prescription, do you find yourself relieved? Do you ask other people for medications because you’re anxious you’ll run out? Do you get angry and aggressive when you don’t get to use the painkillers frequently?
You may experience other types of changes in your life, too, such as:
- Weight loss that’s unexplained
- New financial difficulties
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Flu-like symptoms
- Reduced libido
- Lack of interest in activities you loved
- Uncontrollable cravings for other things
- Lack of interest in your family and friends
Even if you are suffering from pain, recognizing the difference between pain relief and drug addiction is critical to your long-term health. Your loved ones may already be telling you it is time to get help.
Is It Time to Get Help?
Painkiller addiction treatment is available to you. If you believe you might be addicted, turn to a counselor who can work with you one-on-one to help you to break the addiction cycle and get you back on the path to wellbeing. Our team at DK Solutions Group can help you find the help you need.