If You Take Pain Medications, Watch for These Signs of Addiction

Posted on July 9, 2020

Every year in the United States, more people become addicted to prescription medications known as opioids. These medicines, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine, can lead to addiction in individuals of all ages.

Many people who would never engage in illegal drug use are willing to take pain meds when properly subscribed by a pain doctor, which leaves them susceptible to underestimating the addictive power of such medications.

There are myriad reasons for the current increases in opioid addictions:

  1. The number of prescriptions issued for pain medications has increased substantially in recent years. This equates to a higher number of patients who are exposed to the potential for addiction.
  2. The fact that prescription opioids are legal and sometimes necessary for pain reduction gives many patients the impression that these meds aren’t as dangerous as ‘street’ drugs. Such an underestimation can lead to unexpected addictive behaviors.
  3. The longer a pain medication is taken, the more the human body builds tolerance to it over time. As a result, the patient may feel compelled to increase dosage in order to achieve a satisfactory level of pain relief. The more meds that are ingested, the greater the potential for opioid dependency.
  4. Not all physicians take time to fully inform their patients about the perils of addiction to the pain medications they prescribe. While they may distribute written paperwork outlining addiction as part of the general information about a patient visit, a failure to properly emphasize the dangers may leave patients vulnerable to dependence.

If you need prescription pain medications after a surgery, injury or to relieve a chronic pain condition, it is recommended that you make time to understand the dangers and warning signs of opioid addiction before starting your dosage. Additionally, learn what resources are available to you in the event that you find yourself falling into an addictive cycle.

It is important to ask your prescribing pain physician pointed questions, such as:

  1. Is it necessary to take pain meds, or are other alternatives available for pain relief?
  2. Will the drugs being prescribed have adverse side effects or interactions with other drugs you may be taking?
  3. What is the potential for addiction, and what warning signs should you be on the look-out for?

In order to prevent addiction, make sure to follow your prescription instructions carefully and never exceed the prescribed dosage. If the medication no longer provides pain relief, do not increase your dose; instead, consult with your pain doctor to find out if another medication or treatment would be more effective for you.

Furthermore, it is critical to be aware of any warning signs of addiction, which may emerge gradually over time.

Here are some common opioid addiction warning signs to watch for:

  • Finishing meds ahead of your regular refill schedule
  • Taking more than your prescribed dosage to achieve results
  • Preoccupation with your pain meds, such as increased impatience for your next dose time, or anxiety about running out of medication
  • Increased paranoia or need for isolation
  • Downplaying drug use or hiding dosages
  • Turning to outside sources for additional pain meds when your doctor’s prescription runs out

If you notice yourself exhibiting any of the above behaviors, contact your pain doctor to discuss your concerns. Ask about possible pain relief alternatives, or resources to help overcome an existing addiction, if needed.

While a qualified, caring pain physician will always discuss the potential for addiction when prescribing pain medications, it’s ultimately up to you as the patient to ensure that you fully understand the information, and consistently follow your doctor’s instructions.

Remember to ask questions, monitor your behaviors and never exceed your dosage without first discussing it with your pain management specialist.

Do You Even Need Prescription Pain Medication?

At Riverside Pain Physicians, our expert pain doctors take great care to prescribe opioid medications responsibly. When medications are absolutely necessary, our pain specialists will always take time to inform the patient about the potential for addiction and resources for help as needed.

But in many cases, chronic pain may be relieved without the need for opioid medications. Thanks to the latest alternative treatment methods, many patients can experience significant pain relief with no ‘pain killers’ or potential for addiction.

We offer several minimally invasive options for relief from your chronic pain without addictive medications.

To learn about minimally invasive options for relief from your chronic pain without pain meds, call Riverside Pain Physicians today at 904.389.1010, or click here to set up an appointment online at one of our clinic locations.

Tags: Addiction Prevention, Signs of Addition, Signs of Drug Addiction