Doctors outline the risks of surgery, but one that is often overlooked is the chance of becoming addicted to painkillers. Someone who has major surgery is likely to be prescribed medication to manage pain. Sometimes a person will only need them for a short period of time, but in some cases long term medication is required. If you, or someone you love needs a dependable drug and alcohol treatment center in Wilmington NC, please call Legacy Freedom today.
Some of the most effective painkillers are opioids. Unfortunately, they’re highly addictive because of the euphoric feeling they produce. In the last 25 years, the number of opioid prescriptions rose from 76 million to over 200 million, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The most popular drugs that are prescribed are Vicodin and Percocet. These drugs are similar to heroin and morphine because they have the same effect on the brain. Painkillers that are not taken as prescribed can become as dangerous as taking heroin or morphine because of their similarities.
An increase in the availability of prescription drugs has led to an increase in their misuse. The NIDA reports that the number of emergency room visits due to misuse of opioids has more than doubled. The number of deaths due to overdose has more than tripled in the last 20 years. Those seeking treatment for an addiction to painkillers has increased from one percent to five percent over the last 10 years.
These startling statistics should reinforce the importance of knowing the dangers and risks involved when starting a drug regime post-surgery. For most people, the chance of developing an addiction to prescribed painkillers is low, but you can still reduce your risk by talking with your doctor beforehand.
How to Minimize Your Risk
If you have a history of any kind of addiction, be sure your doctor is aware of it. You are at greater risk than most, even if your previous addiction was not to pain killers. There may be alternatives your doctor can offer.
Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking your medicine. Don’t take more than directed without first consulting your doctor. Plan to stop taking the medicine as soon as the pain subsides. Make sure your doctor is aware and tell him or her when you feel you don’t need them any longer and want to stop taking them. When you stop taking the drugs, if you feel withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability or insomnia, let your doctor know immediately.
It’s also important to dispose of any leftover pills you may have. Don’t keep them on hand for future aches and pains. The drugs were prescribed for use in one situation, not for use treating other ailments.
If you have teenagers or other adults in your household who may be tempted to take the drugs recreationally, it’s important that you keep them out of their reach and dispose of any leftovers when you have completed your drug regime.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Wilmington NC | Legacy Freedom
The number of people affected by drug addiction, alcohol abuse and other forms of substance abuse is growing. Legacy Freedom is here to help you or your loved one if you are struggling with addiction. We offer outpatient therapy to help with recovery from drugs or alcohol in a safe, caring environment. Our customized treatment plans meet the needs of the individual. We don’t believe in a “cookie cutter” approach and that’s why we have a proven track record of success. Call us today to talk with an admissions counselor about how our drug and alcohol treatment center in Wilmington NC can help you.