Opioids are strong drugs. They can be a powerful medicine because they don’t cause the same organ toxicity that users of other medicine may face during short-term use. However, they are also incredibly addictive and generally shouldn’t be offered before other solutions have been ruled out, and then only for a short time.
Being a patient in America can be difficult. Because many people don’t have insurance, or find the copays too expensive, people often wait until a problem is out of control before they seek medical help. They’re basically self-diagnosing or using websites to guess at what’s wrong with them and often getting it wrong. So by the time they seek help, the pain can be quite intense.
Also, doctors are overloaded with patients, and so often they don’t take the time to properly explore a patient’s history. It’s easy to give a quick prescription, but there is a growing body of evidence that that when opioids are prescribed before other avenues of pain management are explored, they may cause more harm than good.
If a doctor prescribes you an opioid before anything else, it’s prudent to be cautious. You should discuss with them options such as physical, massage, or water therapy as well well as anti-inflammatory and non-opioid pain medication. It is also important to try to find the root of the pain. Pain can be worsened by things like stress or lack of sleep. It can also be lessened by spending time with friends, spending time in the outdoors, and playing with a pet.
Keeping It Safe
If you do take an opioid, limit its use to a week. Keep the drug in a locked safe place to prevent others from accessing it. And if you do find yourself building a dependency to it, get help immediately. If you are in Florida, call us at (855) 441-2449 to learn more about what the withdrawal process is like.