People often assume that if a doctor prescribed a drug, it can’t possibly be harmful, yet many painkillers such as opiates are highly addictive. Without careful, extensive monitoring by a doctor, a user can easily get into trouble.
Most people who must take pain medication do not intend to become dependent. They do not use the drug to get high, but after a period of prolonged use they can become consumed by the drug until they cannot function without it.
Many of these issues arise when the user misinterprets or simply ignores the doctor’s instructions. A person may take more than the prescribed dosage and may also continue to take the painkiller for many months beyond what the doctor advised.
This type of behaviour (called non-compliance) can lead to serious problems when people become both physically and mentally dependent on their prescription medications to get through the day. Some prescription painkiller users claim they can’t even get out of bed without first taking their pills.
There are individuals with legitimate pain who are in real need of medication to help them function on any sort of normal level. This in and of itself is not a problem but becomes one when a friend or family member steals the medication to sell it to others or to abuse it themselves.
Withdrawal from painkillers
Another troublesome aspect of this complicated issue occurs when an individual develops a dependency and once the refills on the prescription have run out, they no longer have access to the drug. This often leads to withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from painkillers and narcotics such as opiates is excruciating and many people are more terrified of this than of being addicted to the pills themselves. Users may not even be getting high anymore, they are simply taking these pills to feel normal.
There is hope for painkiller addiction. Like most other addictions, the key is recognizing that there is a problem and finding the right supports to help you work towards a life free of pain pills.