Medical professionals prescribe painkillers as a way to manage pain from an injury, surgery, or trauma. Painkillers are highly addictive opioids, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, and Demerol. These medications are used to treat pain, short-term; however, opioids are also used for long-term illnesses such as cancer.
The opioid epidemic has been declared a national health emergency due to the staggering rise in opioid use, overdoses, and deaths. Eric D. Hargan, Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services, determined in 2017 that a public health emergency exists nationwide.
Painkillers cause an intense euphoria from the release of dopamine in your brain. As more medication is taken, more tolerance builds up to achieve the euphoric effects. If you take the painkiller for a long time, you can develop a physical dependence on the drug. The physical dependency puts you at high risk of developing an opioid addiction.
Here are 4 ways to prevent an addiction to painkillers:
- Follow the doctor’s orders. If you are taking medication for pain, take the medication as directed by your doctor. When you take more painkillers, more often than prescribed, you put yourself at risk of developing a dependency or addiction.
- Seek alternatives. Talk to your doctor about alternatives to opioids. There are addictive medications that can alleviate pain. Check with your doctor for other options that can minimize discomfort.
- Ask yourself if you still need painkillers. If your pain is more manageable and you are experiencing less pain, talk to your doctor about discontinuing the medication. If you continue to use them, but no longer need them, you could be at risk of addiction.
- Think about other risks. Discuss other factors with your physician that may contribute to your risk of developing an addiction. Talk about your experiences with addiction to drugs or alcohol, or mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
People are dying due to opioid addiction. Opioid addiction can be prevented if you know the risk factors, act responsibly, and maintain communication with your physician. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Addiction is treatable and there is hope in recovery. Get help today so you can enjoy a fulfilling, healthy life in sobriety.
Serenity Springs Recovery Center focuses on rejuvenating men’s holistic spirit for success in addiction recovery. Our unique dual-diagnosis treatment program with a 12-step completion model helps men change their lives inside and out. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life in sobriety. For information, call (386) 423-4540