Drug and Alcohol - Opioid Addiction

Am I Addicted to Pain Medication? 5 Signs You Might Be

Many patients are never informed about the addictiveness of opioids. It’s easy to get addicted to these powerful drugs even if you don’t intend to.

Am I Addicted to Pain Medication? 5 Signs You Might Be

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

May 27, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

When healing from an injury or surgery, opioids often function as pain management. Doctors, dentists, and emergency rooms alike all administer opioid medications.

Unfortunately, this class of medications is highly addictive, often abused, and frequently lethal when abused.

Many medical providers do not inform patients of this. The U.S. Congress introduced a bipartisan-sponsored bill called the Opioid Patients' Right to Know Act in February 2021 that would incentivize physicians to inform patients of the opioid risks, addictive properties, and alternatives.

Thus far, the bill is stuck in the Subcommittee on Health. This delay means many patients are still not aware of opioid dangers.

If you have taken prescription pain medications for an extended period, you may worry about whether you are addicted. It is especially daunting if you were not told of the risks before starting your meds. This article will outline signs that you need help with opioid addiction.

Sign 1: Obsessing About Your Medication

Severe pain debilitates patients. When you are in this condition, it makes sense that you sometimes think of the substance that relieves pain. When those thoughts turn into obsessing, that is a major red flag of opioid addiction. You should not be worrying about your next dose and the number of pills you have left. Your pain meds should not motivate you to get through your day.

Additionally, you should not be anxious about whether your doctor will refill your prescription. Rearranging your daily activities so that you can take opioids is another red flag. 

These behaviors become more concerning the longer you have taken the meds. If your injury occurred weeks ago, you should be weaning off the substances and trying to use them as little as possible. Opioids should not continually pop into your thoughts. Your focus should be on returning to your normal activities. If you find this difficult, you should talk to your doctor about the best way to safely taper off your medications. You may need to attend detox depending on the kind of opioid, the strength, and how long you have been on it.

Sign 2: Craving More Pills

If you feel like you want more opioids, you should be concerned. You should not want to take them more often or in higher quantities than prescribed. Seeking out doctors who will prescribe you more pain meds is a concerning behavior to watch out for. Cravings for opioids even without the pain can feel overwhelming if you are addicted. 

Ask yourself why you are still taking your pain meds. Are you still in physical pain? Do you just feel uncomfortable without them? Do you even know why? If you are worried that you are addicted to pain meds, do some introspection to discover the answers. They will tell you a lot about whether you need to seek treatment.

Sign 3: Opioid Dependence Symptoms

The physical dependence on opioids occurs when your body gets used to the substance you are ingesting. You will develop a tolerance that requires more opioids to receive the same relief. Your body will demand the medication. When you do not consistently use opioids at the same time intervals, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.

These include the following:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting 

  • High blood pressure

  • Tremors

  • Insomnia

  • Increased pain

  • Muscle aches

  • Anxiety

  • Diarrhea

  • Restlessness

Opioid overdose is both a symptom and a potentially fatal complication of opioid overdose.

Even if you do not have the psychological symptoms of depression, you should seek help when you find yourself in a state of physical dependence.

Sign 4: Uncharacteristic Behaviors

When addicted to opioids, you may feel moodier, more irritable, and angrier than before. You might pay less attention to your hygiene. Showering, dressing, and brushing your hair might feel difficult. You can also make risky choices that do not fit your general personality. 

This is primarily because mu-opioid receptors can be found throughout the entire brain, impacting every aspect of your behavior. Cognitive functions may deteriorate every time you consume opioids. They impact logic, decision-making, and reactivity. If you notice yourself acting in an uncharacteristic manner when you consume your pain meds, you should take note.

You may want to consider other treatment options. Bring this up with your doctor as soon as you are aware of the change.

Sign 5: Pushing Your Support System Away

If you are addicted to pain medications, you might find yourself distancing from loved ones. You may want to be around them, but you believe they will notice that you are high. You could be hiding that you have multiple pill bottles and opioid prescriptions. If you are in denial, you could avoid someone telling you that you have a problem. 

Over time, you may start surrounding yourself with people who support and enable opioid addiction. If you have noticed a shift in your support system, it may be time to reconnect with individuals who would support your recovery. Knowing you have loved ones who want you to get better will help you through opioid drug detox and addiction treatment.

Physical Dependence & Addiction to Pain Medication Is Treatable

Opioid pain medications present a problem for patients. Due to their addictive nature, many develop a substance use disorder without even realizing it. If you have taken opioids for an extended period of time, you might find yourself struggling with physical dependence and addiction.

Admitting your problem is a brave step in the right direction. It is important that you talk to your doctor and seek out addiction treatment as soon as possible.

The Forge Recovery Center provides effective, evidence-based care for pain medication addiction. Our committed staff of caring experts will be in your corner throughout the entire recovery process.

Why take the risk an overdose? Contact The Forge Treatment Center today and start the journey towards recovery.

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