Many pharmaceutical medications are used to relieve pain all over the world. But one must be aware of the fact that most of these pain-relieving medications, if not all, are highly addictive. Although, it’s not very common for patients who have been prescribed such medications to later fall prey to addictive behaviors & develop quite a strong physical dependence & tolerance as the treatment & time progresses. The strong chemical such medications usually consist are known to hasten the development of psychological and behavioral changes that can lead to addictive disorders.
However, one should not abstain from using pain medication, if they are prescribed to them out of medical necessity. Following the doctor’s prescription to the letter & healthy, stress-free environment is key for patients on pain meds to avoid addiction & tolerance to such substances.
There is a very thin line that differentiates pain management & addiction to painkillers. A patient might intend to relieve their symptoms with their pain medications but in the worst-case scenarios, might just be feeding their own addictive behaviors. We’ve found that people who usually get addicted to pain medications go through 3 distinct stages before they can actually be termed as being addicted.
Over longer periods of time, patients on pain meds will gradually build up their natural biological tolerance to their specific medications. This means that they will need more in terms of amount or dosage to mitigate their symptoms for which they have prescribed the pain medications in the first place.
The second stage usually comes up after the prescribed time is over. The patient in such cases usually experiences withdrawal symptoms as the opiates in pain medications build up a chemical dependence which alters brain & body functions which result in cravings.
In this stage, the patient starts consuming prescribed or over the counter pain medications. Even taking higher doses and amounts to cover up or their body’s natural tolerance. They start to proactively seek out opportunities to recreate their experience and thus addiction starts to set in.
Who’s At Risk?
People who stick to their doctor’s prescription usually don’t fall prey to addictive disorders. For the treatment of longer periods, the doctors also prescribe medications to avoid the onset of the stages of addiction.
Fentanyl (including brand name Duragesic)
Oxycodone (including brand name OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Tylox, and Roxicet))
Morphine (including brand name MS Contin)
Meperidine (including brand name Demerol)
Hydrocodone (including brand name Vicodin and Lortab)
Hydromorphone (including brand name Dilaudid)
How To Prevent The 3 Stages
We can’t emphasize enough on the point – Stick To Your PRESCRIPTION. If you keep taking your medications, the right amount, at the right time.
It’s advisable to share any past history of you & your immediate family with your doctor, so that the doctors may take the proper precautions while prescribing medication & their entire treatment cycle.
Although, it’s rare for patients to develop an addiction to their pain medications, it’s not unusual either. Your doctor can foresee the onset of the usual 3 stages of addiction and take the necessary precautionary measures to stop or mitigate them before they take a more serious turn.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, encourages you to stick to your prescription & be clear and honest with your doctor about prior substance abuse instances. We hope this article helps people in need become more aware of their situation & be just a bit more ready to tackle the 3 stages of addiction.