Continual ache impacts over one third of all Individuals and plenty of handle that ache by way of prescription remedy. Some individuals fear that taking narcotic painkillers will result in addiction. Whereas these medicine are designed to cut back sensitivity to ache, in addition they create a way of euphoria – a sense that some individuals might come to crave. In case your physician prescribed medication to deal with your ache and you are taking it as directed, you’re much less more likely to have an issue.

However some individuals do get addicted, and there are often warning indicators alongside the best way, like these:

1. You consider your remedy quite a bit.

One of many first indicators of dependancy is turning into preoccupied with two issues: when you’ll be able to take your subsequent dose and whether or not your provide is sufficient, says Debra Jay, co-author of Love First: A Household’s Information to Intervention.

Watching the clock so you’ll be able to take your subsequent dose could also be a priority, notes Joe Schrank, MSW, co-founder of Rebound Brooklyn restoration middle in New York.

“If it’s contemporary dental work and also you’re in ache, it is sensible,” he says. But when it’s gone on for some time, it’s attainable you’ve change into depending on the remedy.


Dependency and dependancy usually are not the identical factor. You could be bodily depending on a drug however not addicted.

Confused? Here is the distinction. Once you’re bodily depending on a drug, your physique has constructed up a tolerance to it, and also you want increased doses of the remedy to get the identical impact.

Once you’re hooked on a drug, it is greater than bodily, it’s additionally emotional. The dependancy could be related to uncontrolled behaviors. You retain utilizing the drug, though it is inflicting you severe issues at work or college, in your loved ones, or in your social life.

2. You are taking totally different quantities than your physician prescribed.

Perhaps you are taking greater than it is best to or take it extra typically than your physician prescribed. Should you suppose your physician doesn’t perceive your stage of ache or that they meant it is best to take it every time it’s worthwhile to, even when that’s not what they ordered, it might be a warning signal.


Do you stretch out the time between doses or shrink some doses you are taking so you’ll be able to take extra later? Should you’re making an attempt to regulate how you are taking your painkillers as a substitute of following your physician’s directions, you might have an issue.

“Each time we try to regulate issues, it may be a extremely good indication of how uncontrolled we’re,” Schrank says.

3. You’re “physician purchasing.”

Do you go to multiple physician for a similar prescription?

When you cease working together with your physician and attempt to discover another person who will write you one other prescription, one thing might have shifted.

Your objective could also be to spice up your provide of painkillers so you may have as a lot as you want. But when it’s not in keeping with what your physician ordered, that is cause for concern.

Do you hunt down medical doctors who’re recognized for overprescribing, or “capsule mills”? Have you ever lied and mentioned you misplaced your prescription or been dishonest to a physician about what you may have already been prescribed?

 “If we’re telling totally different medical doctors various things to get remedy, that’s an actual crimson flag,” Schrank says.

4. You get painkillers from different sources.

You are feeling such as you don’t have sufficient remedy to ease your ache, so that you attempt to get extra. These methods of stocking up sign the opportunity of dependancy:

  • Ordering medicine over the Web.
  • Stealing different individuals’s leftover or long-forgotten pharmaceuticals from their drugs cupboards.
  • Stealing medicine from a sick relative or pal.
  • Shopping for different individuals’s pharmaceuticals.
  • Stealing prescription pads from physician’s workplaces and illegally writing your personal prescriptions.
  • Hurting your self so you’ll be able to go to a hospital emergency room and get a brand new prescription.
  • Shopping for medicine on the road.

5. You’ve been utilizing painkillers for a very long time.

You in all probability began taking ache remedy as a result of one thing harm. Should you’re nonetheless utilizing narcotic painkillers lengthy after the ache ought to have gone away, Schrank says it’s time to ask for assist.

Perhaps you’re taking them since you like the best way they make you’re feeling, as a substitute of to alleviate ache. Or perhaps you’ve began to have bodily cravings. Each are indicators of a problem.

“Ache remedy is meant to bridge a niche or get you thru a tough patch,” Schrank says. “It’s not likely meant to be a approach to keep or handle chronic pain.”

6. You are feeling offended if somebody talks to you about it.

Have your pals or household tried to speak to you about the way you’re utilizing your remedy? Should you really feel defensive or irritated once they strategy you, it’s possible you’ll be getting in too deep, Schrank says.

In truth, research present the diploma of that anger isn’t just an indication that you could be want therapy, however it could actually truly be a predictor as to how efficient therapy could be.

7. You’re not fairly your self.

Perhaps you’re not caring for your self such as you often do. You’re much less involved about your private hygiene or the best way you look.

Otherwise you really feel moodier than typical. Do you’re feeling angrier? Have your consuming habits modified? Do you’re feeling nervous or jittery?

Modifications in sleep are one other signal. Individuals who change into hooked on medicine like morphine and codeine are recognized to sleep their days away, typically in a locked, darkish room, Jay says.

Have you ever stepped again out of your duties? Perhaps you have not been paying your payments such as you used to, uncared for family chores, or known as in sick to work. Should you’re ignoring your youngsters, your duties, or life normally, it’s time to ask for assist, Jay says.

What to Do

Should you acknowledge your self or somebody you like in any of those indicators, even should you’re unsure it is dependancy, the next move is to ask for assist and get extra data. 

Be taught extra about how to stage an intervention.

It may be straightforward to misuse painkillers, even while you strive to not. “The hot button is honesty — honesty with physicians, trusted associates, dependancy professionals, however most of all with ourselves,” Schrank says.

Do not be afraid to speak to your physician. They will refer you to a therapy middle or dependancy specialist.

Or you’ll be able to name a neighborhood drug therapy middle, which has dependancy specialists who’re educated to acknowledge the indicators and provide the assist it’s possible you’ll want. Search for a middle that’s licensed by the state you reside in.

It’s also possible to name 800-662-HELP (4357), the nationwide helpline run by the U.S. authorities’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Providers Administration. It gives free, confidential data and referrals about substance abuse and psychological well being.