Are You Adhering To Your Prescription Opioid Painkiller Dosage Schedule?

prescription opioid painkiller addiction

If you’re concerned about your use visit Turn To Help to access helpful resources and support.

Have you been prescribed opioid painkillers? A doctor may prescribe opioids such as fentanyl, codeine and oxycodone for a short period of time to manage pain following surgery or for the management of pain.

When taken according to your doctor’s instructions, opioid painkillers are an effective component of a short-term pain management plan. However, if these medications are taken in higher doses or more regularly than prescribed by a doctor, there is an increased risk of developing an opioid painkiller addiction.1 Misuse of opioid painkillers may have a negative impact not only on the individual’s health and well-being, but also on their family and their community.

Side Effects of Opioids 

When an individual takes opioid painkillers, the medication travels through their blood and attaches to pain receptors in their brain, which release signals that alter their perception of pain, and in some cases, increase levels of pleasure and positive emotions.2

Opioid painkiller addiction can see an individual experience a range of physical side effects such as nausea and drowsiness.3 An individual with an opioid painkiller addiction may experience various psychological side effects, including boosted feelings of pleasure,1 and over time these effects may evolve into more worrying side effects, such as mood swings and irritability,3 as well as the onset of anxiety.4 

With prolonged opioid use, an individual may be more susceptible to experiencing the effects of opioids, which can negatively impact their health.5 While one may not exhibit all symptoms associated with opioid painkiller addiction, it is possible to experience some side effects such as a raised blood pressure and muscle and bone aches.5 

Take Control and Gain Support

Have you been taking opioid painkillers that have been prescribed to somebody else? Have you been taking opioid painkillers more frequently or in higher doses than your doctor has prescribed? Are you taking your opioid painkillers to feel ‘high’? Do you believe you are taking more opioid painkillers than you should be? Maybe you believe that you are becoming dependent on opioid painkillers. These are a few indicators that you may be dealing with an addiction to opioid painkillers. If you are experiencing any of these issues or you believe that you are suffering from an opioid painkiller addiction, it is never too late to take control of your life and gain support. 

The first and often most difficult step in recovering from an opioid painkiller addiction is admitting that you have a problem. To assist you in this process, you may wish to complete the self-assessment questionnaire tool on the Turn To Help website. The results from this tool can be printed along with a doctor discussion guide, to facilitate your conversation with a doctor. Turn To Help can help you locate a nearby doctor who is available to assist you in making decisions that are best for you. These healthcare professionals will be able to provide you with tailored medical advice and support to help you create a personal treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. 

If you have not already done so, you may wish to reach out to a family member or a friend so you can talk about what you are experiencing and feeling. Surrounding yourself with loved ones who are both supportive and reliable, can assist you with your recovery. It is important to remember that anyone can be affected by an opioid painkiller addiction. It is not your fault, and there is support available to assist you in taking charge of your personal journey and health.

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today 

Gaining support and assistance from a doctor for your opioid painkiller addiction can not only reduce the risk of side effects from opioid painkiller addiction but can also assist in improving your emotional state, well-being, energy levels and sleep, as well as improving your relationships with family and friends. 

If you feel that you are struggling with opioid painkiller addiction, seek support and speak to a doctor. A range of support and resource options are available at Turn To Help for people affected by opioid painkiller addiction. 

References: 1. Mayo Clinic. How opioid use disorder occurs. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372. Accessed 23 May 2024. 2. Mayo Clinic. What are opioids and why are they dangerous?. Available At: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/expert-answers/what-are-opioids/faq-20381270. Accessed 12 February 2024. 3. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm. Accessed 24 April 2024. 4. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 23 May 2024. 5. NSW Government – NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Clinical Guidelines: Treatment of Opioid Dependence – 2018. 2018. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aod/Publications/nsw-clinical-guidelines-opioid.pdf Accessed 8 November 2023.