Opioid management is probably the most charged topic that we talk about frequently on our blog. Many of our patients and readers take some type of opioid medication to help manage their pain, and they get nervous or angry when they hear big government talk about restricting opioid access due to an increase in overdoses. The majority of people take their pain pills responsibly, and they are concerned that the minority who are abusing pills will make it impossible for them to get the opioids they depend on.
Opioids certainly have value in a pain management program, but we also don’t believe they should be the only treatment option that is being tried. And if you are going to take opioids, you need to be sure you use them responsibly and they aren’t abused by others in your home. One way in which doctors and family members can help stop painkiller abuse is by looking for certain concerning behaviors that are often associated with opioid abuse. We take a closer look at some of those behaviors in today’s blog.
Behaviors Associated With Pain Pill Abuse
Here are some of the behaviors that doctors and family members can look for that may suggest a person is dealing with a substance abuse or pain management problem:
- Missing appointments.
- Taking their pills for something other than pain.
- Using more medication than prescribed, or asking for a refill before the prescription end date.
- Repeated inquiries to get an increased pill dosage.
- Being aggressive or hostile to healthcare staff or family members.
- Taking medication in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
- Lack of participation in other treatment modalities.
- Bouncing around from doctor to doctor or clinic to clinic.
If someone you now is demonstrating a few or all of these behaviors, reach out for support. Contact Dr. Cohn or reach out to your specialist to learn ways to talk to your loved one about painkiller abuse and how to get them the help and support they need. It’s never an easy conversation, but it’s one that needs to happen.
The consequences of painkiller abuse can be deadly, so don’t sit back and do nothing. Contact a healthcare provider or addiction services center to ask about the next steps in the process. We’ve also compiled a few links that you can check out if you suspect that a friend or family member is abusing pain pills. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Thomas Cohn, MD
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