Why Addiction Is Closer to Home Than You Think and What You Can Do About It

Dec 12 2016 - 8:50am

Recent news reveals shocking information that about 33 percent of Americans who've been prescribed and taken painkillers end up addicted. Here's what you can do to fight and prevent addiction if you're currently taking painkillers.

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Addiction and health

Doctors have been liberally prescribing painkillers, which the surgeon general raised concerns about. Now researchers revealed that one-third of U.S. residents who have taken prescribed painkillers for 2 months or longer have admitted they became dependent or addicted to them. What's worse? But in over 50 percent of cases, people living with U.S. patients who took painkillers say they think their loved one is addicted but won't admit it – so the percentage of actual addicts could be larger. Part of the problem is that most of their doctors gave them insufficient advice on how to take the painkillers and when to stop. But the main part of the problem is that doctors prescribe painkillers for too long. New guidelines state that in most cases, three days should be the maximum time a patient is on painkillers – but doctors have been prescribing painkillers for intervals over two months.

If you're dealing with painkiller addiction or are afraid you'll get addicted to your painkillers, talk to your doctor about your prescription. Here are some ways you can help prevent and fight painkiller addiction:

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You might not realize you're addicted. According to Florida drug rehab centers, your body starts becoming physically dependent on a painkiller if you take it everyday for three weeks or longer. Being dependent on a drug doesn't always mean you get shakes and cravings. Some common symptoms of dependency are stomach cramps, diarrhea, and even excessive yawning! If you experience anything weird with your body after stopping your painkillers, you should see your doctor. He may diagnose you with being physically dependent on your painkiller and can guide you through the withdrawal process.

Try alternative pain therapies. Yoga and meditation have been found to help relieve pain. In fact, Harvard says doing yoga can lower the pain associated with conditions that doctors frequently prescribe painkillers for, like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lower back pain. According to WebMD, stress can worsen the pain of your condition. They say that meditation and hypnosis help alleviate stress, which then lessens your stress-caused increase in pain. In fact, they say hypnosis is so powerful it lowers pain felt by cancer patients.

Don't end up addicted to your doctor's prescription. Knowing the risks and understanding how easy it is to get addicted to painkillers is half the battle. If you have an acute condition, try alternative pain therapies before taking your painkillers. If you've been taking painkillers for longer than three days, ask your doctor about the risk of drug dependency.

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