Approximately 30 percent of U.S. adults live with chronic pain, and many manage the pain with prescription medication. While narcotic painkillers reduce the feeling of pain, they are also designed to create an euphoric effect — a feeling that some come to crave.
If you are taking prescription pain medication exactly as prescribed by a licensed professional, you are less likely to become addicted to the medication.
Some people can misuse the prescription painkillers and become addicted to them however, and these are the signs:
1. You think about the medication often.
One of the first signs that you’re becoming dependent on pain medication is that you’re constantly thinking about when you can take the medication next and if you have enough supply.
2. You take more than your doctor’s prescribed.
You are taking more medication — or the medication more often — than your doctor has prescribed. Perhaps you feel that your doctor does not understand your level of pain or that he or she meant you can take it when you need to. This is a warning sign.
3. You are doctor hopping.
If you go to more than one doctor for the same prescription, that’s a red flag. If you switch doctors to find the prescription or see multiple doctors to get a larger supply, there’s reason for concern. If you’re seeing a doctor with a reputation of running a “pill mill” or being dishonest with your physician that you lost your medication, it’s time to seek help.
4. You acquire the medication through various sources.
If you feel like you do not have a large enough supply, and you are seeking other avenues to get the medication, these actions may signal addiction:
— Purchasing drugs on the internet.
— Taking drugs from a sick friend or relative.
— Buying other people’s prescription medication.
— Stealing prescription pads from a doctor’s office to write your own prescription.
— Hurting yourself so you can go to the emergency room to get a new prescription.
— Buying drugs on the street.
5. You’ve been taking prescription pain medication for a while.
You began taking pain medication because something hurt, but now you are still using painkillers because you like the way it makes you feel. It’s time to seek help.
6. You get mad if someone asks you about it.
Do you feel angry or defensive if you a friend or family member talks to you about taking the medication? You may be hiding something.
7. You’re just not yourself.
Are you moodier than normal? Do you care less about your personal hygiene? Are you eating less? Are you sleeping more? Are you more jittery?
People with opioid use disorder often neglect their job or schooling responsibilities and their family commitments. It’s time to ask for help.
What to do?
If you recognize that you have all or even just a few of these signs, it’s a good idea to consult a medical professional to get more information. Misusing pain medication can happen even if you try to avoid it.
Now is a good time to contact a licensed healthcare team who know the signs of misuse and can provide help if needed.
New Season Treatment Centers is one of the leading providers of treatment across the U.S. To find the location nearest you, call 1-877-284-7074 or visit newseason.com.