With the rates of addiction to opioids growing, more people are becoming concerned about the use of these high-strength, highly addictive painkillers. While these drugs can be beneficial in the short term when carefully monitored, there is also the risk for misuse and addiction. Some people rely on prescription painkillers as a way to cope with chronic pain or serious pain following surgery, injury, or illness. However, other times they are prescribed when less potent medications may suffice. If your doctor is recommending an opioid drug, it is important to discuss the benefits and risks as well as any concerns you may have.
Questions to Address with Your Doctor about Opioids
Remember that you and your doctor should be working together to determine the most effective treatment plan for your situation. It’s okay – and encouraged – that you ask questions. There may be alternative options that you want to try.
Be honest about family history and any concerns you have. Speak up and play an active part in your health. Let your doctor know if prescription drug addiction, or addiction in general, run in your family. While genetics are not the only factor when it comes to addiction risk, they do play a part and should be considered.
Be open about questions you may have regarding any prescription pain relievers being recommended. Make sure you understand why they are being prescribed, the risks and benefits, the duration of treatment, and the expected results. Talk about your concerns regarding addiction and how you can be proactive.
Explore other options. Are opioids the best option given your situation? Could you benefit from an alternative such as physical therapy, acupuncture, meditation, or massage? Many people find holistic therapies to be beneficial and they may help curb pain. Keep an open mind and give these strategies a try instead of immediately jumping to prescription painkiller use. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
You may also want to ask about non-opioid medications and try those first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new guidelines for the use of prescription opioids, especially for treating chronic pain. They are encouraging physicians to be more cautious and try alternatives first. If opioids are prescribed, they recommend a short course of treatment consisting of less than a week’s worth of pills and using a low dosage. Currently a month or more is often prescribed for those with chronic pain. According to the CDC, “nearly 28,700 people died from overdoses of prescription opioids and heroin in 2014.”
Ask about the signs of dependency or addiction. Make sure that you are being proactive and are educated about warning signs. While not everyone who uses prescription pain relievers develops an addiction, the risk is there. It all depends on the person and the situation. Some common drug misuse and addiction symptoms for opioids include drowsiness, poor coordination, nausea, constipation, euphoria, confusion, and slowed breathing. Another sign is developing a tolerance where the medication doesn’t seem to be working as effectively as before and higher doses are required to achieve the same relief.
It’s important to educate your family about these signs as well so that they are aware of what to look for. They may notice changes more readily than you do. If you do experience any signs of dependency or addiction, you can alert your doctor and discuss a new course of action before things become more serious.
Seek treatment if necessary. If you have developed an addiction to opioids or other drugs, it’s important to be honest with your doctor or family and seek help. This can be a difficult topic to bring up because you may not want to admit that you have a problem, but realize that there is treatment available.
Treatment at a luxury rehab center can equip you with the strategies and skills you need to overcome addiction and reduce risk of relapse. You’ll be in a safe, relaxing environment where you can focus on your recovery and have access to numerous resources. Engaging in individual, group, and family therapy, as well as a variety of other therapies and activities can support you on the journey to recovery and healthier lifestyle.
Don’t become another statistic in the opioid epidemic. Take advantage of the opportunity to get the help you need for long-term recovery. Be an active part of conversations with your doctor before potentially addictive medications are prescribed and be proactive in preventing or treating possible addiction.
Chapters Capistrano offers on-site detox where you can safely rid your body of any addictive substances with support from medical personnel who can keep you as comfortable as possible. Then you can begin a treatment program that is tailored to your individual needs and addresses the challenges that you face. With both 12-step and non-12 step approaches available, as well as a multitude of other therapies and activities, you can find what works best for you. Contact Chapters Capistrano today at 888-973-0230 for more information or to get started.