Medical Experts Reveal the Truth Behind Prescription Painkiller Addiction and Who is At Risk
Prescription painkiller addiction, specifically opioids, is a growing problem that affects a wide range of individuals. While celebrities coping with a painkiller addiction receive the most media attention, there are many other everyday people who suffer through their addiction in silence, fear or shame. A large part of the problem is that addiction to painkillers is drastically misunderstood, with some people treating it too casually, while others refuse much-needed treatments. Here are the six most common myths regarding prescription painkiller addiction, the truth and misconceptions from qualified medical professionals.
I Can Use Painkillers Without Worry, Because Most People Don’t get Addicted to Them.
It’s true that most people who use prescription painkillers as prescribed, for a short amount of time might not become addicted. However, they do have addictive qualities that can be dangerous. Disregarding your physician’s dosage or medical advice can result in an overdose or even death. When utilized properly, prescription painkillers provide much needed relief from chronic pain. However, when used inappropriately, they can be deadly or life destroying.
If I Take Painkillers Long Enough, I Will Eventually Become Addicted.
Some individuals take prescription painkillers for years and never become addicted, but often they do become physically dependent. The difference is that these individuals take the drugs only as prescribed and under the supervision of medical professionals without progressing on the amounts, controlling their behavior and tolerance. Addiction typically creates negative behaviors due to the need of an individual to increase their dosage or decreases the time between doses without consulting their physician.
Eliminating My Pain is all that Matters, no Matter the Risks.
While the elimination of pain is the primary goal of prescription painkillers, it’s not the only one. Physicians also look for an improved quality of life and daily function. Prescription painkiller drugs that simply remove pain, but don’t improve quality or function for a patient, should be reassessed. In addition, prescribed opiates should also be accompanied by other treatment methods to treat and alleviate pain.
If My Pain Symptoms Require Higher Doses, Does it Means that I Have Developed a Prescription Painkiller Addiction?
Taking increasingly higher doses of prescription painkillers is what many individuals believe indicates addiction to a drug. However, that is not how medical professionals define it at all. In fact, some individuals need increased dosages over time to effectively manage their pain relief. That’s because anyone can become tolerant or dependent on a drug. This means that their body has built up a resistance to it, not that the person is addicted. Additionally, if individuals stop suddenly taking opiates, they may even suffer some withdrawal symptoms. This too does not signal an addiction. Instead, addiction is is also characterized by the continued use of the drug despite the harmful consequences.
Being in Pain is a Better Option than Becoming Addicted to Painkillers.
When used as carefully and for a short period, painkillers can be safe and effective way to eliminate pain and restore an individual’s quality of life. While they are not risk-free, neither is suffering with chronic debilitating pain. Individuals should talk with their physician about their addiction fears and individual history, so that they can find a drug option that works for them.
Only Weak Willed People Develop a Prescription Painkiller Addiction.
Prescription Painkiller Addiction develops when a number of physiological and emotional components combine. It has nothing to do with how strong or weak an individual is. In fact, some studies say that there might be a very strong genetic link to addiction. Those who have family histories of addiction or alcohol abuse should use extreme caution when using opiates for lengthy periods of time.
Prescription Painkiller Addiction: 7 Myths. Pain Management Health Center. WebMD. Retrieved on May 8, 2015.