Pain pills like oxycodone and fentanyl are prescribed for just that, pain. These medications are strong and are most frequently prescribed for traumatic injuries, post-op recovery, and labor. There are many myths floating around in the addiction community when it comes to pain pills, and because of these myths, people don’t often get the help that they need. By busting these myths, we can help to end the pain pill stigma, allowing everyone to get the treatment that they need to get sober. Here are five different myths about pain pill abuse, busted.
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1. Pain Pill Addiction is a Choice
Many people believe that addiction, in general, is a choice and that people begin taking substances knowing that they’re dangerous and knowing that they won’t be able to stop. This isn’t the truth for prescriptions or street drugs. Most people fall into drug use and don’t know what they’re doing until it’s too late. This is especially true with a pain pill addiction and other addictive prescribed drugs like benzodiazepines and Adderall.
People are prescribed these drugs because they need them and because they’ll help, but they only end up becoming a problem in the long run. When their tolerance goes up and their prescription eventually runs out, they might find that they’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms. While this doesn’t happen with all people, it may happen with some.
2. Everyone Gets Addicted to Pain Pills if They Take them Long-Term
Like we just said, not everyone is going to get addicted to pain pills, even if they take them long-term. There’s a difference between dependence and addiction. While many people may become dependent on pain pills after taking them long-term, the ability to stop safely is really the key here. Working with a doctor to taper properly to avoid withdrawal symptoms can help to greatly reduce the chance of an addiction forming. Unfortunately, not all doctors are equipped with these skills.
The problem occurs when a doctor fails to properly taper a patient off of pain pills, or the patient decides to cut cold turkey instead, resulting in withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be hard to get through, and if patients are unable to cope with these side effects, they might find themselves continuing to use pain pills or trying to refill their prescription. One’s ability to cope also depends on many factors, such as mental health history. Have they learned healthy coping mechanisms and are they equipped with the skills to get through a hard time safely? If not, they might be more likely to continue using in order to avoid withdrawal.
3. It’s Worth Risking the Pain to Avoid Addiction
If you’re planning on avoiding pain pills in order to treat your pain and avoid potential addiction, you’re putting yourself through needless suffering in order to avoid something that might not happen. By knowing the risks going in and being proactive throughout the process, you can avoid drug addiction. Oftentimes, being worried about drug addiction is enough to prevent it. You can work with your doctor and other healthcare professionals to ensure that you only use it for as long as you need it and that you taper off safely afterward. If you feel yourself craving the drug after your prescription has ended, work with a therapist to discuss these feelings.
4. All Pain Pill Users End Up Using Heroin
While some heroin users started out as pain pill addicts, not every pain pill user ends up addicted to heroin at the end of the day. While there is a deep connection between opioid pills and heroin use, this isn’t the storyline for every single person. However, some people find the need to calm their withdrawal symptoms by turning to street drugs. They might first purchase pills off the street from a dealer. When the pills no longer feel like they’re working, they might turn to stronger substances like heroin or even fentanyl.
On the flip side, not all heroin users started out with a pain pill addiction. There are many other “gateway” drugs out there that can lead to heroin use. It’s understandable to be worried about this, but if you’re proactive about how you use pain pills, it’s unlikely that you’ll end up addicted to something stronger. However, these are concerns that you can bring up with your doctor.
5. Doctors Can Prevent Addiction
While you should share your concerns with your doctor, they might not be the best person to help you. Does that sound wrong? We agree. Unfortunately, doctors just aren’t equipped with the right skills to deal with and prevent addiction from occurring. Oftentimes, they just have too many patients and not enough time to worry about each individual one and their potential addiction. There are some great doctors out there who can help to ensure you don’t get addicted by helping you taper off safely, but others will cut your prescription cold turkey and leave you with withdrawal symptoms you can’t control.
However, even a doctor who knows what they’re doing can’t prevent you from getting addicted to pain pills. Even if they attempt to taper you off safely, you might still find yourself taking the same dose every day or trying to get a higher dose from the doctor. While they can do their best, they can’t control your genetics and prevent you from developing a disease. And unfortunately, while willpower is important in preventing drug addiction, sometimes it just doesn’t work. You can will yourself to not become addicted and still become addicted. Even people with the strongest wills become addicted to drugs, and that doesn’t make them weak. Sometimes, addiction can’t be prevented by anyone.
Seek Treatment for Pain Pill Addiction ASAP
If you or someone you love is struggling with a pain pill addiction, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Asheville Recovery Center is here to support you through your struggles. To learn more about our treatment programs, give us a call today. We’re eager to answer any questions you may have and help you on your road to recovery.