A Safe Guide to Pain Management if Your Doctor Prescribes You Opioids

Addiction does not discriminate. It affects all genders, races, and cultures. The misuse of illicit substances and alcohol does not matter if you are an athlete, a Christian, a Muslim, a devoted father or mother, or a straight-A student. While there are factors that play into your chances of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, such as genetics, it does not mean you will misuse them. However, there has been a rise in the use of opioids, including heroin and prescriptions, such as oxycodone, tramadol, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.

591,000 Americans age 12 and over were diagnosed with a heroin use disorder in 2015. Even more startling is the number of Americans age 12 and over who were diagnosed the same year as being addicted to prescription pain killers: two million! Unfortunately, these individuals may have hit a threshold regarding their tolerance to Lortabs and turned to harder opioids such as heroin. This can be due to the price or the difficulty they had getting enough opioids prescribed to match their tolerance levels.

These statistics do not stop physicians from continuing to prescribe narcotic pain medications such as hydrocodone. In fact, in 2012, doctors prescribed enough opiates that every American over 17 years of age could have had their own bottle of opioids. There are other pain management options, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic services, and massage therapy. If you do not have an allergy to NSAIDs, such as Motrin, you have another possibility.

Does this mean your physician will advise you of all your options for pain management? Even if they do, are they going to be options that help your ailment or case? If the answer to both questions is, “Yes,” there is a chance that your doctor will also prescribe a concurrent. Thus, it is important to be aware of some steps to keep you more guarded against the chance of addiction.

Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Chances of Opioid Misuse

Here are some suggestions for safer use of prescribed narcotic pain medications:

  1. Have a conversation with your physician. Be honest and ask questions. Let them know any past addiction history, as well as other prescribed and over-the-counter medications, alcohol use, and supplements you are using. Inform your doctor of any allergies, medical issues, and concerns. Ask your physician about alternatives to opioids.
  2. Make sure to become informed about possible side effects and signs of misuse of opioids. Have a good understanding of how much, and when, you are to take the medications being prescribed to you. Take the opioid exactly as prescribed.
  3. Be aware of the signs of addiction. These may include taking opioids that are not prescribed to you, using them to feel “high” rather than to help your pain, using your medicine more often than intended, and taking more opioids than prescribed. Other symptoms include changes to mood and anxiety levels as well as to your sleep, difficulty with decision making, or feeling “high” or sedated.
  4. Keep your prescriptions in a safe place and do not share or sell your medications.

A Great Place to Turn for Help if Addiction Has Crept into Your Life

At Discovery Place of Burns, Tennessee we can help with more than just opioid addiction. Any use of alcohol or illicit substances can turn into an addiction. We have trained professionals standing by 24/7 to help you. Contact us at 1-800-725-0922 to learn more about our various treatment programs personalized for your own recovery. Our webpage has a lot of helpful information about our many programs, including what you can bring with you to treatment.

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