Man with painkiller addiction

Pain which requires some sort of prescription medication like painkillers is very common across the world. What a lot of people fail to realise is that the taking of prescription medication has a high risk of leading to addiction. The medication you are taking may take away the pain, but they also bring with them a sense of euphoria and positivity, which many can become dependent on and crave.

The addictions can often occur when the person taking the medication does not follow the instructions a doctor has given them, but there are instances where addiction can just occur naturally. There are some warning signs along the way which can give warning to others that a person may be addicted to painkillers.

Painkiller addiction warning signs

One of the first things noticed about painkiller addiction is that they become preoccupied with when they are taking their next batch of medication and if they have enough medication to last them. Some people observe that they watch the clock tick down until they can take their next batch. When you are physically dependant on a drug,  your body has built up a tolerance to it, and you need to have higher doses of the medication to get the desired effect, this is when you are physically dependent on the drug but are not addicted. When you are addicted to the drug, the signs are more physical and emotional. You can experience uncontrolled behaviours and you keep using the drug, even though it’s causing you serious problems and is affecting your life and the people around you.

Concern can be raised when you start taking your painkillers more often than your doctor recommends. When we choose to control things, it can be a clear sign of how out of control we are becoming. If you are attempting to control how and when you take your painkillers rather than following orders given by your doctors, you may have a problem. Another sign that you are addicted is when you choose to seek out medication from another source other than your doctor.

You get the feeling that you don’t have enough in your life, so you seek out ways of obtaining more. There are a number of possible avenues for you to take, such as ordering painkillers on the internet, stealing ones that others have leftover, taking pills from relatives or friends, buying drugs from friends, stealing prescription pads from doctors, or even hurting yourself so you have to go the doctor and buying medication or drugs off the street.

Most people start to take pain medication due to an injury, illness or just general pain, but if you are still using painkillers after a long period of time after the pain has subsided, then it may be time to consider getting help. Some take them because they like the way they make themselves feel, instead of them relieving the pain.

Pain medication is designed to bridge the gap between illness and recovery, it is not meant to be a way of maintaining chronic pain. One other warning sign may be that you feel angry when people try and discuss medication with you.  If you feel defensive or offended when someone asks you about the medication you are taking, it may be a sign that you are in too deep and are suffering from addiction.  Studies have shown that anger is not just a sign that you may need treatment, it can also act as a means of determining how effective the treatment would be.  

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If you recognise that you, or someone else, has these signs it is always best to flag them up with a professional. Even if you don’t think it is addiction they are suffering from, it is very easy to misuse painkillers, even when you are trying not too. You should never be afraid to raise your issues with a doctor or seek help from a drug addiction treatment centre. Both of these employ addiction professionals who are trained to recognise and treat the signs of addiction and provide you with the help you need.