“It’s been prescribed to me, so it isn’t dangerous.”
This is one of the greatest myths surrounding prescription painkillers. When you think of substance abuse, you probably think of street drugs. But did you know prescription medications can be dangerously addictive as well?
Most people never intend to become addicted to prescription painkillers. The addiction generally begins as something “innocent” when a patient begins taking more medication than prescribed to ease pain. Before they know it, they need more and more painkillers in order to experience the same relief.
This is what’s known as “dependence.” The more you take a drug, the more your body builds up tolerance. Your body becomes dependent on prescription painkillers in that you need to take more for the same effect. However, addiction is more than just the physical dependence – addiction is a chronic disease with mental challenges as well. Most people with a substance abuse disorder also have a co-occurring mental health disorder. This is called a dual diagnosis.
Not only will your body crave the drug, your mind will obsess over it. If you’re addicted to prescription painkillers, you will continue to use even it has caused damage in your life (personal, professional and social).
Warning Signs of Painkiller Addiction
An estimated 6.1 million people in the United States alone have misused or abused prescription painkillers ever month. If you are taking the proper dosage as prescribed by your doctor, you most likely have nothing to worry about. However, prescription painkiller addiction is real and just as dangerous as addiction to street drugs. It’s important to know the key warning signs that identify a potential addiction. Warning signs include:
- You don’t accurately follow the prescription. Do you take your painkillers more often than prescribed? Do you take a higher dosage? Either way, both impose a risk to your health. If you make excuses like, “My doctor does not understand my level of pain,” this is a key warning sign that something may be wrong. Addicts make excuses for their use and give the drug power over their choices, which is one of the first signs of addiction.
- You’re constantly (or frequently) thinking about your medication. Addiction is both a physical and mental disease. Thoughts of your medication will increase in frequency until they consume your mind. You might begin fantasizing about your next dosage or urge your doctor to refill your supply before it’s needed.
- Your life is negatively affected. If you’re physically dependent on drugs like morphine and codeine, you may need them in order to sleep. You might even need your medication to feel happy or to “survive” the day. If you’re personal and professional life are suffering and you don’t feel like your normal self, it might be time to seek help.
You are always on the lookout for supplies. Are you no longer receiving prescriptions from your doctor? Or maybe you don’t think he’s prescribing what you need? Or are you trying to get painkillers from the internet or a friend? No matter where you’re looking to get drugs, if you are looking to get prescription medicine from someone other than your doctor, you could potentially have a problem.
JourneyPure Bowling Green is here to help.
These are just a few of the warning signs of a potential addiction to prescription painkillers. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, JourneyPure is here to help. Our treatment facilities offer prescription painkiller treatment in Kentucky with clinically proven methods. Contact us today.
Chris Clancy is the in-house Content Manager for JourneyPure’s Digital Marketing team, where he gets to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist and researcher, with strong working knowledge of hospital systems, health insurance, content strategy, and public relations. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two kids.