Prescription painkillers can be beneficial for helping you to avoid some of the worst pain after surgery. Physicians today are more aware of the potential for developing a dependency on opiates, and your doctor should provide you with some guidance about how to avoid forming an addiction. For example, they may only prescribe you a limited number of pills, or they might ask you to try other forms of pain relief before you use your prescription. Either way, it is smart to already be thinking about how to avoid developing a problem with drugs after your surgery. Knowing the signs that you could become addicted to opiates are given you the opportunity to be proactive about staying sober.
One of the biggest signs that you could become addicted is having dealt with any type of addiction in the past. While alcohol may be different from opiates, it is possible that using prescription painkillers could trigger past addictive behaviors. If you are in recovery, then you may need to talk to your treatment team about what you can do to protect yourself during this vulnerable time. Some people try to avoid using prescription painkillers completely, but this might not be an option for you. If not, then it is best to rev up your efforts for staying sober. You might find it helpful to attend more counseling sessions or enroll in a relapse prevention program. Finding a way to stay accountable can help you use your medication as it is prescribed.
There are other risk factors for developing an opiate addiction. You could be more likely to get addicted if you also deal with other mental health issues. Feeling anxiety about your pain or overall physical recovery could cause you to try to use your painkillers to escape from your emotions. Depression is also common after a surgical procedure. You might be depressed about having to deal with a lengthy recovery, or you may fear that you will not regain your former abilities. Trying to cope with these emotions is hard, and turning to drugs is possible if you don’t find another outlet. Treating your mental health conditions is an option that can help you avoid misusing opiates.
There is also a connection between how long people use prescription drugs and whether or not they get addicted. Most people do not get addicted to pain medications overnight. Instead, your body can slowly become dependent upon the drugs if you take them for long periods of time. After a major surgery, it is not uncommon for people to be given enough prescription painkillers to last for several weeks or months. If this applies to your situation, then reaching out to a drug addiction counselor can help you head off any problems before they start.
Treat the Underlying Causes of an Opiate Addiction
If you do develop an addiction, then there are things that you can do to stop needing to use your prescription painkillers. You might have an addiction to opiates if you notice any of these following signs.
- taking your medications when you are no longer in pain
- using prescription painkillers to get to sleep or mentally check out
- doctor hopping to get new prescriptions
- buying opiates off the street
- needing increasing amounts of opiates to get the same results
Discovering that you developed an addiction to prescription opiates is upsetting. You might be wracked with guilt or scared about how it will impact the rest of your health. The good news is that people are able to successfully stop using opiates when they have the right types of help. A strong addiction treatment program provides services that help you figure out why you are dealing with an addiction. Perhaps you’ve always had a mental health condition that got worse after your surgery. Or, you might be struggling with coping with your new health status if your surgery lowered your level of independence at home. No matter what happened, you can work through the challenges with the help of qualified addiction treatment counselors. You’ll also get support for managing any physical withdrawal symptoms that you experience.
Knowing your risk for developing an opiate addiction helps you to plan for your surgery recovery. Are you worried that you might have developed an addiction despite your best efforts to avoid it? If so, we can help you figure out the best way to get help with an opiate addiction. Call us at 833-364-0736.