If you or someone you know is taking painkillers, you might be concerned about the risk of addiction. While painkillers exist for a good reason and can be very effective for people who are in severe pain, they are also easy to abuse, and anyone who uses painkillers regularly is at risk of becoming addicted to them. Painkiller addiction can be difficult to spot, especially in the early stages, but there are signs to watch for that may indicate someone who is using painkillers has become dependent on them.
If someone taking painkillers is taking increased amounts as time goes on, this could mean that person’s body is becoming used to the effects of the drug and needs more of it in order to achieve the same effect. While this is common with many prescription medications and does not necessarily mean danger by itself, it can definitely be a warning sign that bigger trouble lies ahead.
2. Multiple Prescriptions
If someone who is using painkillers is seeing multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions, this is definitely something to be concerned about. It could mean that the person is not satisfied with the amount of painkiller that a single doctor is prescribing and feels the need to obtain more because of a strong craving for the drug. Getting more painkillers through whatever means necessary may become the person’s number one priority. The person may not feel “normal” or happy unless he or she is taking painkillers.
3. Using Painkillers Unnecessarily
The most powerful painkillers are intended for treating severe pain. If someone who was formerly using them for severe pain now wants to continue taking them because they are still in just a little bit of pain, it is a reason to be concerned. Likewise, someone who is using them in ways other than how his or her doctor prescribed or without a prescription may be addicted.
4. Personality Changes
An addiction to many different substances, including painkillers, may result in changes to someone’s personality. Someone who is addicted to painkillers may experience changes in mood or energy levels. Concentrating on daily life may become difficult. The person may not seem like his or her usual self.
5. Neglecting Responsibilities
If someone misses work because of a need to use painkillers, that shows there may be an addiction problem. Ignoring what needs to be done around the house or not taking care of financial responsibilities could also mean that someone has become addicted to painkillers. If the person becomes unable to function in his or her daily life because of painkiller use, there is definitely cause for concern.
The line between appropriate painkiller use and painkiller addiction can be thin and difficult to read sometimes. While it is not always easy to know if you should be concerned about your own or a loved one’s painkiller use, these and other signs can definitely help you decide if there could be a problem. Simply feeling that there could be a problem is also a sign that painkiller use might be going too far. Fortunately, painkiller addiction is not something you have to deal with alone. There are many options available for help. If you are concerned that someone you care about is addicted to painkillers, talk with that person about your concerns and why you feel the way you do. Encourage him or her to seek help. If you feel that you may be addicted to painkillers, reach out to someone who can help. Doing so may be the best decision you ever make.