~I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.~
Many years ago I was addicted to opioids. I was constantly prescribed a specific one by various dentists and doctors for abscesses or ovarian cysts. The more it was given to me, the more my body regulated to it and began to react when it wasn’t there. At the time I never realized that I was actually addicted, although I knew that the anti-inflammatories and antibiotics actually did more to resolve my pain issues than the opioid, it was more a mental problem. I would think I was in pain if I didn’t take it and later I would not feel like myself if I wasn’t on it.
For people with severe pain, opioids are very effective medicines, and many patients treated for pain with opioids do not become addicted. For some people, however, opioid dependence is an unexpected consequence of proper pain treatment. The problem comes when someone is unable to stop using the drug after the pain passes. Why does this happen? Over time, opioid prescription painkillers can alter the brain’s chemistry by “resetting” the brain so you begin to feel you need more and more of the drug just to get through your day. That’s why doctors consider opioid dependence a long-term medical condition – one that can be treated effectively. – Turn to Help
Doctors describe it as “resetting” your brain. You may not be in physical pain anymore, but your mind makes you believe you are so that you take the opioid (or more of it). After awhile you can’t discern what is actual pain or mentally manifested pain.
Opioids don’t have any preference when it comes to age, gender, class or race. Opioid Depedence, otherwise known as Prescription Painkiller and Heroin Addiction, has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and is a growing medical and health concern for everyone. Getting the facts straight about this medical condition is important, whether for personal reasons or for understanding another person’s situation. Most individuals (including myself at one point in time) are riddled with emotional issues due to the addiction and oftentimes take the medication as a means of retaining the sense of “normalcy” that the people around them are used to. It is hard to consider, especially if you are a parent, that you could be addicted to a drug and is easier to justify it and/or not recognize the problem for what it is.
FACT: Medication is Covered by the Majority of Health Insurance Companies and Privacy is Protected*
- 77% of adults and 93% of doctors mention shame or embarrassment, fear that others will find out and/or feel of putting life on hold as reasons those suffering from addiction would refrain from seeking treatment
- 79% of adults and 91% of doctors most commonly mention the inability to recognize one has a problem as a reason individuals avoid seeking treatment Only 29% of adults and 21% of doctors believe seeking treatment for OD means a person needs to give up his/her privacy
- 21% of adults and 16% of doctors believe treatment for OD is not covered by medical insurance plans
My husband has this ability to just stop things. He wanted to stop drinking once and although it was hard he just stopped. He wanted to stop smoking and he did. That’s just the person he is. However, I wasn’t endued with that sort of willpower. I couldn’t just will myself to stop and then cope with the withdrawal while being a mother. I needed to be able to function, to keep going day by day and didn’t see how I could have a treatment plan in my schedule.
All of which I realized were excuses. My family was always supportive of me trying to attain better health. It was like anyone having to give up something they don’t want to and starting a treatment plan. Whether you are trying to diet, quit smoking or knock yourself off opioid dependence, it isn’t easy, but you do have to start somewhere and you don’t have to be alone.
Turn to Help offers education and resources on Opioid Dependence and Treatment Options. It allows you to research the mental concerns anonymously as well as search for treatment options and assistance.
About 5 years ago a doctor recognized the issue with prescribing me opioids and explained to me what the long term effects were and we came up with a pain treatment plan. It took me many years to ‘rewire’ my brain and be capable of admitting the issue to other medical/dental providers so that should I need future pain management that they can help me manage it through other means. I had fall backs and nothing is ever easy, but it mattered to me because I’m a mom and my boys need me, so I kept trying.
The important thing is that I came to recognize it. I became informed about it and I asked for help. Everyone has to start somewhere.
*HIPAA Privacy Rule and Public Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed June 4, 2013.