Addiction to Pain Killers After a Surgery/Injury

After a surgery or injury, the pain can be so great that taking painkillers prescribed by your doctor seems the only option. Usually, recovery is quick and the painkillers can be stopped after just a few days. However, sometimes those painkillers are needed for an extended period of time to live a tolerable life.

The most effective painkillers after a surgery or injury are opioids, which are highly addictive. Heroin and opium are also opioids. These drugs give the user a euphoric feeling, which makes the user want to continue use. Opioids are a type of drug that people develop a tolerance to over time, meaning that they will gradually need more to get the same euphoric feelings, leading to  opioid addiction.

Doctors often prescribe 30 days of painkillers, and when they’re on hand, the temptation can be to use them. Painkillers are chemically very similar to opiates like heroin, and are very easy to become addicted to. Sadly, after the prescribed painkillers are gone, many people find themselves purchasing heroin—which is cheaper and doesn’t require doctor visits.

addiction recoveryIt’s important before you have a surgery to plan ahead. Talk to your doctor about managing your pain. Many painkillers for post-opt are very easy to become addicted to. Knowing what to expect beforehand can help you be hyper-aware of whether you may be on the path to becoming addicted to your painkillers. If you have ever struggled with addiction in the past, let your doctor know so that you can find alternative methods to mediate your pain.

Make sure that you have a good support system of family and friends who can pay attention to your actions and behavior—it may not be easy to notice the addiction in yourself. Know the signs of addiction:

  • Craving your medicine
  • Mood and behavior changed, like anxiety, hostility, and irritability
  • Continued use after the initial pain has ceased
  • Increasing use without doctor recommendation
  • Seeing multiple doctors to obtain more prescriptions
  • Illegally buying the prescription or other drugs
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, work/school, social activities

You may not have realized that addictions were setting in while taking the painkillers. Once you stop taking them, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. Many people continue to take drugs to avoid these pains of withdrawal. Know the signs of withdrawal:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Depression
  • Cramping
  • Flu-like symptoms

If you feel like you are becoming addicted, or are already addicted, talk to your family and friends about it. Go see your doctor so that can you be weaned off of the drug/painkiller in the healthiest way.  In the worst cases, you may need rehab and help staying in remission.