Addiction problems have gained more awareness in recent years. Addiction does not refer to just illegal substances and can affect anyone of any age. It is possible to become addicted to medications prescribed by a healthcare provider.
There are several ailments, illnesses, and injuries that can cause pain. Often pain is treated with a prescription for pain medication. These medications help reduce pain but can sometimes be addictive and cause injury or even death when abused.
How Women Experience Pain Differently
It has been shown that women more frequently report pain and that chronic pain is more common in women than in men. Women are more likely to be prescribed pain medication and given higher doses for longer periods of time. This could lead to addiction to pain medication.
What You Can Do to Help Prevent Addiction to Pain Medication
There are pain-reducing methods other than medication such as massage, meditation, exercise, and diet. Talk to your healthcare provider if there are different methods of pain relief available for your condition.
Be aware that there are different types of pain medication. Pain relievers such as Tylenol and ibuprofen are not likely to be addictive because they do not contain opioids. Many of these medications are available over the counter. Pain relievers that are opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, morphine, and Dilaudid are much more likely to be addictive.
You should never share prescription pain medication with others. The medication should be kept locked away in a safe spot where children and others cannot get to it. If you are done with the prescription and there is still some left, find a safe way to discard the unused medication. Many communities have methods of discarding unused medications.
One of the best ways to prevent addiction or recognize the early signs is to have open communication with your healthcare provider. Discuss any personal or family history of addiction and alternative pain relief options. While on pain medication, check in regularly with yourself and your healthcare provider to determine if medication adjustments need to be made. Remember that if you feel that you are becoming dependent on medication, your healthcare provider can help.
- FDA. (n.d.). Women and pain medicines. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved March 4, 2023