It's easier than you would think to become addicted to painkillers. We've all heard about public figures, celebrities and professional athletes who end up addicted to powerful opioids, originally intended for treatment of neck pain or chronic pain. With access to vast resources and support networks, these people often receive the help they need to overcome these addictions. But, occasionally their story has a tragic ending. For most regular people, living with under-treated chronic pain means depending on increasingly powerful painkillers to get through each day. Would you be able to recognize the signs of abuse in yourself or a loved one?
When it comes to long-term opioid usage for chronic back pain or neck pain treatment, according to Medscape News, disorders can be categorized into three levels:
- Tolerance – this occurs when increasingly larger doses are needed to continue the pain relieving and even anxiety relieving benefits. Adverse effects may develop such as sedation and respiratory complications.
- Withdrawal – physical symptoms of withdrawal occur when usage is stopped suddenly, as soon as two days after starting therapy. Signs include sleeplessness, achiness, agitation and drug craving.
- Addiction – this condition is a behavioral and psychological one, rather than a physical one. The user exhibits compulsion, craving, and the propensity to relapse after stopping the medication.
Prescription drugs certainly have an important and beneficial role in treating certain types of pain, when prescribed by a qualified physician, and used strictly in accordance with the directions. Also, it's important to note that while tolerance and withdrawal issues are worth addressing with your doctor, they are common and do not rise to the level of an addiction disorder. WebMD suggests that you watch for these indications that something may be wrong:
- You (or your loved one) hasn't been on the up and up with the doctor about medication usage
- The drugs are being used for reasons other than their intended use
- The medication isn't being taken as directed
- Usage has led to missing events or foregoing responsibilities like neglecting one's kids
If you're reading this and wonder if you may have a dependency issue, or if somebody you care about is abusing painkillers to treat neck pain or manage chronic back pain, begin an honest conversation with our Spine and Disc Specialist Today!. Call the Disc Center at ProMED Pain Rehabilitation Institute at 630-343-0885.