All of us frequently hear or read about individuals who have become addicted to painkillers after getting prescribed them by their doctor with regard to chronic pain. The problem is that once the pain is gone or manageable, the individual can find themselves trapped by the medication and has to keep taking it. Next thing you know, they’re “doctor shopping”, stealing drugs from medicine cabinets, purchasing them off the Internet, or through drug dealers. Really, their only hope at that point is a drug detoxification program that will help them get off the particular drug.
These stories are always depressing and somewhat frightening. For me, in addition they raise a number of questions: How many individuals actually suffer from the severe chronic pain that requires these prescriptions? And how do they become addicted? A few of the answers I found were shocking.
Research conducted by Stanford University Clinic found that one in five mature Americans suffer from chronic pain – pain lasting for several months or longer. And, according to a study released in The Journal of the American Healthcare Association, common and chronic pain costs American workers more than $61 billion a year in lost productivity. These facts alone provide significant incentive to ask for, and write prescription medications for painkillers. People don’t wish to be in pain, and they do want to go to work. So , they are likely to be on these drugs for an extended period of time.
But will they become drug addicts? That depends on a number of aspects. First, the type of drug they’re getting; If they’re taking opium-based pain relievers like OxyContin, Dilaudid, Vicodin, Percocet, oxycodone, or morphine, it is almost certain the person will become physically reliant and, if taken for a long period of time, they’ll probably require drug detox to safely get off the drug with a minimum of debilitating withdrawal signs and symptoms.
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However , even though the risk of drug addiction with opioid painkillers will be higher than with other drugs, addiction will go beyond mere physical dependency. It really is more a mindset – it’s a solution that enables a person to cope with the particular stresses of living life. Plus it takes more than drug detox to take care of it. Drug detox helps the person handle their physical dependency, yet they’ll need drug rehab in order to conquer the addiction.
Whether or not someone is addicted to a drug is a complex question. But the bottom line is this: given the right set of conditions, there is a great risk of addiction.
The easiest method to find out if someone is addicted is to get them treatment in a medically-supervised drug detox program that helps them withdraw safely from the drug and after that provides counseling to determine if additional treatment is needed.