Tens of thousands of people die from opiate overdose every single year. While some of this is connected to the use of illicit drugs, in many cases, people’s first introduction to opiates is through pain pills. They may have gotten pain pills from a doctor after surgery or after trauma. When they first started taking the pain pills, they did so harmoniously with what the doctor prescribed.
Opiates can be a helpful way to deal with pain. But they can also be very addictive. Many people battling opiate addiction are doing so because they started with prescription pills. They become dependent on their prescription and need a higher dose with time to feel the same pain relief they did at the outset.
When the prescription runs out, people are left with dependence, but they have no way to access the drug. This leads to people using street drugs as a way to fill the physical and emotional void they have.
Is Opioid Addiction Inevitable?
No. And no magic number indicates when a person will develop an addiction. For example, doctors won’t say that if you take 30 pain pills, by pill 31, you will be addicted. The truth is that addiction factors vary from one person to another.
Two people could take the same prescription drug for the same amount of time and at the same dose, and one person ends up addicted, and the other does not. Genetics, environment, and predisposition to addiction will play a major role.
If you are taking pain pills right now, you might worry that you will eventually develop an addiction to opiates. The first step is to talk to your doctor about it. Doctors do not want their patients to become addicted to opioids. Doctors can help you take steps to ensure that you do not get addicted to opioids.
That being said, preventing addiction is your responsibility. This includes only using opioids as prescribed. You never want to go over the prescribed dosage. Once a prescription ends, talk to your doctor before asking for refills. And regularly check in with your doctor and help them understand how you are feeling.
A psychiatrist or therapist can be a good resource if you fear becoming addicted to opioid prescriptions. Their advice can help you avoid misusing drugs by giving you coping mechanisms.
Is There a Safe Way to Use Opioids?
Absolutely. This is by using them only when you need them and working with your physician to ensure their usage is monitored. These are two key steps to avoiding opioid addiction.
Sadly, some physicians are not as responsible as they should be when prescribing opioids. Negligent physicians are, at times, the reason why some people become addicted.
Even if you feel that your doctor is not being as diligent as they should be to prevent addiction from developing, you need to make sure that you are only taking the drug when it is necessary and that there is no other option. If there are leftover opioids after the pain from surgery or trauma has subsided, give them back to the pharmacist. This will stop you from using them when you do not need to.
How Do I Know If I Am Already Addicted?
If you fear that you or someone you care about has already developed an opioid addiction, there are warning signs to look for. Opioid addictions do not happen overnight. Generally, it requires several weeks of using the drug consistently.
If you are using opioids over a long period, your body gets accustomed to having them and starts to develop a dependency. When you are not taking the drug, your body triggers withdrawal.
If you try to stop using opioids and you are left with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, this is an indication that addiction has set in. At this point, you may wish to speak to your doctor about getting help to stop using opioids safely.
Opioid addiction, be it the result of prescription medication or illicit substances, is not something that should be taken lightly. If you are battling an addiction, contact us at 833-610-1174. Let us help you break free from it.