Post-surgery pain management is an important part of the recovery process. Alleviating the pain allows your body to relax and helps you sleep, and both of these are integral for proper healing. Unfortunately, addiction can be an unintended side-effect of many prescription pain medications, because some of the most effective painkillers are opioids, which are highly addictive. Luckily, if you have an upcoming surgery or are in the post-op phase, there are steps you can take to avoid drug abuse after surgery.
Use All Medications as Prescribed
One of the most effective and simplest ways to avoid addiction to pain medication is to use the medication only as directed by a physician or pharmacist. This includes taking the right dosage, taking your medication on time, taking the pills only for the allotted amount of time, and following any other recommendations made by medical professionals. Moreover, if your pain isn’t being managed properly, don’t self-medicate by changing your dosage. Instead, talk to your doctor immediately.
Recognize the Symptoms of Addiction
While taking your medication properly and staying in contact with your healthcare team will help reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse, addiction can still occur. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of addiction, so that you can seek help from a drug rehab immediately. Signs to watch for include cravings for the drug, taking higher doses than prescribed, and symptoms of withdrawal, which include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Increased heart rate or blood pressure
Don’t Quit Cold Turkey
With most opioid pain medications, you have to wean yourself off the drug to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. When it’s time to come off the painkillers, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to gradually decrease your dose.
Talk to Your Doctor About Your Medical History Pre-Surgery
The chances of becoming addicted to pain medication increase drastically in patients who have a history of substance abuse. If you’re going to be undergoing surgery and will need post-op pain management, tell your doctor about any history you have with substance use, as well as any fears you have about becoming addicted. Your physician may be able to prescribe a non-opioid pain medication or explore alternative options with you.
Opioids produce powerful feelings of euphoria and happiness, so it’s no wonder that they have such power over people. However, they also have incredible analgesic properties, which is why they’re so commonly used as prescription painkillers. If you have surgery coming up and are going to need drugs for pain management, it’s important to inform yourself.
By knowing the risks of using prescription drugs and the warning signs of addiction, you can get the pain management you need to recover properly while avoiding the trap of abuse. And no matter what happens, never be afraid to talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or the experts at Beachside Rehab about your situation. Call us today at 866-349-1770 to learn more about prescription drug abuse and the options for outpatient or inpatient rehab treatment.