Friday, July 20, 2012

Pain Killer Addiction

Unless you are Bruce Willis’ character from Unbreakable it’s impossible to go through life without getting injured, hurt, or eventually one day needing an orthopedic surgeon.  Whether it is from playing sports, working out, or falling out of your chair, many people have to deal with recurring pain.  How we deal with that pain is up to the individual and the advice you get from a specialist.  Depending on where you are hurt there are a lot of alternatives to deal with pain like surgery or physical therapy, but the majority of us rely on pain killers.  The problem with that is that they are highly addictive, and once on them it can be very hard for some people to stop taking them. 

The first recorded use of a pain killer was over six thousand years ago in ancient Sumeria.  However, over the last fifty years modern medicine has introduced a wide spectrum of drugs that are mass produced for people around the world. The CDC reported that in 2010 one in twenty people in the United States, ages 12 and older, used prescription painkillers non-medically (without a prescription or just for the "high" they cause). This huge use in pain killers has attributed to a huge increase in accidental overdoses every year.  Most of these addictions come from past use that continues well after the reason the took the meds in the first place is gone.  This has become an epidemic, and people that have these addictions aren't as easy to spot as other drug addictions.

First of all, you can buy these drugs anywhere as long as you have a prescription.  There are many cases of people that go to numerous doctors at the same time to obtain a bunch of prescriptions.  Then they have the so-called pill mills that just sell pills to anyone off the street complaining of pain.  Luckily, law enforcement has been cracking down on these places in recent years, but the problem still persists.  An addiction is an addiction and where there is a need people can find a supply.

Secondly, there is no odor or paraphernalia negatively associated with taking prescription pills. They come in an orange prescription bottle so someone is less likely to be alarmed if they see you taking one in public.  Behaviorally speaking you could tell someone is on them all the time if you personally know the person for a long time and know their personality.  However, approaching someone that you suspect is addicted to them is a difficult task.  Denial, denial, denial is all that you will get.  Just like any other addiction the self-awareness of its destructive nature is not always so apparent.       

As I have stated in previous blogs, I myself have dealt with a serious injury and I was prescribed painkillers to help cope with the constant pain.  For me it was an uncomfortable feeling to lapse into a dull haze, but I can see how that can become addictive for someone.  The biggest problem I experienced was when I tried to stop taking them.  Luckily, I was told by a good friend of mine that you just cannot stop taking them cold turkey once you start feeling better.  Little did I know the amount of withdrawals you would have if you did so.  Even when I began to reduce the amount I would take over time I would still experience hot flashes and nausea.   And this was only after taking them for a few months.  I can’t imagine the amount of withdrawals someone would go through if they were taking them for years.

Then you have the weird side effects that come along with pain killers.  Not having the ability to go to the bathroom was a surprise.  For those of you who read this and have never taken them before, even when you have the urge to go to the bathroom this kind of medication prevents you from going.  It's a scary feeling when you haven't gone to the bathroom in a few days.  For me it ended up being a few weeks and I was scared for my life.  Soon enough I started to go once I slowed down the rate of how much I took, but I will never forget those two weeks and the fright I had of not being able to do something newborn babies could do. 

In conclusion, if you suspect a friend, family member, or co-worker is abusing pain killers the best thing to do is to contact other people in their lives who they trust and would be open to listening too.  A one man front so to speak is difficult, but a united front brought before the person in question is a much better approach and will have more positive results.
If you're looking for professional and experienced high-rated orthopedic surgeon in Florida, contact Sea Spine Orthopedic Institute today at 866-816-ORTHO.

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