For conditions such as chronic pain, prescription drugs remain the main treatment available on the market. In spite of alternatives such as physiotherapy and natural pain relievers, most people who live with chronic pain need prescription drugs to lead a normal life, but this dependence on pills can have serious consequences.
In 2017, 1.7 million people age 12 and older had a pain reliever use disorder, which is significantly higher than the number of people struggling with heroin and cocaine abuse. Apart from pain relievers, sedatives and stimulants for sleep disorders and anxiety can also have dangerous side effects when they’re not taken according to the doctor’s instruction.
More and more people are aware of the risks of prescription drugs, which is why they’re afraid of developing a physical dependence on them. If you suffer from chronic pain, you’ve recently had surgery and now you’re on painkillers, or you are under treatment for mental health disorder, you can reduce your risk of addiction by following these precautions:
Be transparent with your doctor
Many times, the problem with prescription drugs comes from a poor understanding of your condition or poor communication with your doctor. If the doctor doesn’t know exactly what signs and symptoms you have, they might prescribe pills that are too weak or too strong, and that can lead to abuse. Also, make sure you inform your doctor of any other medication you’re taking. Opioids, for example, should not be mixed with certain drugs because they have dangerous interactions. Asking about alternative treatments is always an option, but keep in mind that their efficiency may be limited. Also, document all the results or side effects you get from prescription drugs so that your doctor knows how to adjust your dosage.
Always respect dosage and directions
Studies show that one of the most common reasons why people end up seeking drug addiction treatment is because they didn’t stick to the recommended dosage and directions, especially in patients who take painkillers. If your pain medication isn’t doing anything for you, don’t increase the dosage without telling your doctor. Also, never take painkillers or other medicine with someone else’s prescription. Even if your symptoms are similar, what works for a patient may not work for another, so if you feel that your prescription isn’t working, it’s best to just talk to your doctor about it, not change it on your own.
Check the source of your medication
Prescription drugs can be expensive and we all want to save money, but be careful where the search for a bargain takes you. If you plan on buying your meds online, double check that website’s reliability. Otherwise, not only you might end up losing your money, but also risk your health. Many scam websites sell counterfeit painkillers, and that could lead to a series of harmful side effects and endanger your health. If you can’t check the source, it’s better to stick to your usual pharmacy or ask your doctor about cheaper alternatives, because the deal you get online might not be worth it.