Every day, about 142 million Americans are dying of drug overdose according to a report issued by the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The country is in the verge, if it already isn’t, of a national emergency that demands prompt and proper attention from the authorities.
But why wait for the authorities to act on it? You, a patient who takes opioid analgesics (e.g., Oxycodone) should also adopt risk reduction measures against an opioid addiction.
Adopt an Attitude of Awareness
Keep in mind that these prescription medications can be a crucial part in the effective management of immediate acute pain and, thus, in the treatment of its underlying cause. For example, after a surgery, the wounds created from the incision will heal better when the pain is well-managed. Otherwise, the muscles become tense and, thus, they don’t heal as well as they should.
But the misuse and abuse of these drugs can result in an addiction. If you are on an opioid medication of any type, you should never increase or decrease your dosage, stop with it, and take it without the express advice of your doctor.
The bottom line: Being aware of the risks and rewards of opioid use is a must in preventing an addiction.
Be a Planner
While a plan will not make you 100% protected, so to speak, against a drug addiction, it will definitely go a long way. Your personalized plan should ideally contain elements like:
- When and why take the medication. Your doctor will recommend taking one or two every four to six hours but it will depend on your unique circumstances.
- Who to ask for support when the temptation to abuse or misuse your medication occurs. You should have someone, such as your spouse, sibling or child, who will monitor your medication use. You can take more than the prescribed dosage when you are in pain (i.e., confused state of mind).
A plan is of crucial importance when you have a genetic disposition for addiction or you already have previous addictions. You’re at a higher risk of addiction in either of these instances.
Consider the Withdrawal Symptoms
Sooner or later, you will develop a tolerance for whatever prescription pain medication you’re on. You will then experience withdrawal symptoms although these aren’t addiction per se but a physiological response to the tolerance.
You must then plan for withdrawal symptoms, such as upset stomach, vomiting, and anxiety. Your doctor, fortunately, can reduce the severity of your symptoms via tapering, among other methods.
With your doctor’s assistance and your personal determination, you don’t have to become part of the statistics of a growing public health issue.