Speak Up and Take Control
It is important for you, the patient, to take the initiative and start a conversation with your doctor if they don’t speak with you about the possible addictive properties of the pain medication being prescribed. Many people suffering from chronic pain think that addiction to prescription painkillers is something that just won’t happen to them.
Whether you feel as though you are at risk or not, discussing the possibilities with your physician before beginning any pain management medication will help you avoid unnecessary risks. You should also discuss any fears you may have regarding getting adequate pain relief. The goal is to find the right balance of relief while minimizing the risk of addiction.
Regarding the difference between addiction and non-addiction, Dr. Howard Fields explains, “Addiction really gets to the issue of compulsive overuse of a drug so that it becomes the dominant thing in your life…if you’re spending all your time in the search of a drug, or trying to get the money to buy that drug, or stealing from your friends, or going around in other people’s medicine cabinets looking for opioids, then you’re addicted.”
Be honest with your doctor about any substance abuse problems you’ve had in the past or are experiencing currently. If you have ever suffered from substance abuse, your risk for addiction to prescription pain medications is higher.
Your doctor may suggest for you to participate in psychological counseling to help you manage the risk as well as to helping you cope with your pain.
Try not to be defensive when a doctor is talking with you about addiction. Remember that doctors do need to be careful. They have to be concerned with addiction, overdosing, underdosing, and even about patients reselling their medication on the street.
The goal in any doctor-patient relationship is to maintain open lines of communication and trust. When speaking with your you need to feel that you can speak openly. If you find that you are continually uncomfortable speaking honestly with your doctor, or if your doctor doesn’t seem to be listening; it’s probably time to find a new doctor.
Jackie Waters is a mother of four boys living on a three-acre Oregon farm. She runs hyper-tidy.com, providing advice on being...Hyper Tidy!