According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 24.6 and 36 million people globally have been diagnosed with an addiction to prescription painkillers. If you are still taking medication, and you are no longer experiencing any pain, there is a high probability that you have developed an addiction. Many people are prescribed painkillers after an injury or surgery. Some of these drugs are very powerful, and it can be easy to develop a dependency. Painkiller addiction affects all levels of society, from the highest to the lowest classes. It is essential that you gain a full understanding of the nature of your addiction so that you can get the help that you need as quickly as possible. Even if you take only the prescribed dosage, you can still develop a physical or psychological dependency.
Psychological Dependency: Your mind believes that the body is going to be in pain at some point. Subconsciously you are preparing for the pain that probably isn’t going to happen, but you take the medication just in case. Physical Dependency: A physical addiction is when the body has adapted to the physiological changes that the pain medication has caused, and is now dependent on the drug to function. The body will go into withdrawal if the patient does not take the pain medication. When you start feeling physically sick, it’s important that you take the medication that is causing the withdrawal to relieve the symptoms; and then speak to your healthcare provider about the most effective way to stop. The medication you are taking may need to be tapered, which means that your dosage will be continuously reduced until you no longer need to take it. Or you will need to take another type of medication to phase out the withdrawal symptoms.
Tolerance: If you are still in pain, and you are increasing your dosage to reduce the pain, you will need to speak to your doctor. This may mean that you have built up a tolerance to the medication, which will make it difficult for you to stop taking the medication in future. Your doctor will re-examine you, and prescribe to you another drug that will benefit you. It is important that you do this because taking a higher dose than recommended can negatively affect your health.