Three Interesting Facts About Opioids
Opioids are one of the medications most commonly prescribed by doctors in the United States today. Over the past 10 years, their use has increased dramatically, and so has the number of clients seeking outpatient drug addiction treatment for prescription medications. These powerful medications must be taken only as directed and for the shortest time possible or patients will run into problems when using them.
1. Taking Leftover Pills From An Old Opioid Prescription Can Be Dangerous
If you have been taking an opioid for some time, you may have built up a tolerance for the medication which will allow you to take higher doses without having serious side effects. When you wean off of it, though, it’s as though you’re starting over, with no tolerance. If you decided to take your old dose of medication on your own later on, you run the risk of actually overdosing on the medication!
Talk to your pharmacist about disposing of leftover pills safely. If you are going to start taking opioids after a break, ask your doctor about a safe starting (lower) dose.
2. Alcohol Use And Opioids Don’t Mix
People who take opioid medications for pain may not realize that they affect the central nervous system. If you feel fuzzy-headed and relaxed after taking your medication, you can attribute these sensations to the effect of the drug. It also slows down breathing. When combined with alcohol, which also has a similar effect on the central nervous system, the effect is multiplied and in some cases, it can be fatal.
Don’t drink alcohol if you are taking opioid prescriptions. You should also ask your pharmacist whether your prescription for opioids will interact with any over the counter medications or herbal supplements you are taking.
3. Opioids Can Be Addictive, Even When Taken As Directed
Studies conducted by leading institutions, including Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, have found that when opioids are used for long-term pain, some patients become dependent on them and cannot stop even if they want to.
Factors that increase the risk that a patient will become dependent on opioids with long-term use include the following:
- History of Substance Abuse
- Other Mental Health Issues
- Poor Health
- Severe Pain
- Smoking (either current or former smoker)
- Young Age
If you are looking at a solution for long-term pain management, make sure that your doctor is aware of your entire medical history. Having one or more risk factors for addiction does not mean that you will become an addict, but you and your doctor need to be cautious about which medications you are taking.
Outpatient Drug Addiction Treatment At Maryland Recovery
At Maryland Recovery, we offer an intensive outpatient drug addiction treatment program that can effectively help you or your loved one overcome an addiction to prescription drugs. Our individualized treatment programs are custom-created with our patient’s mental, physical and addiction history in mind as well as each individual’s needs and goals.
Call Us Now To Learn More About How Our Individual Treatment Plans Can Help You Or Your Loved One!
Dr. Bhalavat is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, and provides inpatient evaluation and consultation services at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Maryland Recovery Partners, and Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Bhalavat’s background includes treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and dementia.