I know nobody swallows prescription meds for the sole purpose of getting hooked on them. In fact, most of us take them to ease post-operative pain or deal with a nasty headache that steals all our focus and drains our energy. Nevertheless, just because our physicians prescribe them, it doesnít automatically mean the risk of addiction isnít there, lurking in the shadows just waiting for the perfect time to grab you in its clutches.
It all goes downhill once youíre too dependent on them
Because narcotic painkillers help you manage aches so easily and effortlessly, itís no wonder that theyíre the number one pain management solution for people everywhere. Letís get real, nobody has the time and patience to explore other means of dealing with pain when thereís a pile of paperwork sitting on their desk; not when a Panadol or Nurofen capsule can make the throbbing headache go away in less than 15 minutes.
For me, it started a few years ago, when the company I worked with called in over 50,000 defective products that my team and I were assigned to fix. Because the managers and marketing team reassured our clients that their problem would be addressed within 72 hours after they delivered the product to the headquarters, this huge workload fell on the hands of 12 technicians, myself included.
It was a very stressful period in my life and I often had pounding headaches that only added to my insomnia. A quick visit to the doctorís office and I was again able to relax and get good nightís rest. The secret weapon that helped me cope with the busy schedule was a pill of Nurofen Plus that I had to take 30 minutes before going to bed.
One pill before bedtime became a tablet in one go, taken every time I had an important project to finish and I was pressed by a short deadline. Because soon the prescription drugs werenít enough to keep the headaches at bay anymore, I turned to OTC painkillers. I was taking pain meds like it was candy, always at the first signs of a headache. In fact, I was depending on them to get things done at work and at home.
I became a painkiller addict
I got hooked on painkiller medication and experienced the overuse syndrome, a condition that affects more than 100,000 people in the US alone. I was dicing with death and didnít even know it. The Nurofen Plus and the OTC painkillers I used to take contained codeine and opiates, the former acting like a pain receptor inhibitor, while the latter enhanced the efficiency of the standard painkiller.
Tolerance to opiates-based painkillers builds up quickly. Therefore, people who take them regularly find that they need to increase the dosages in order to enjoy the same benefits. In addition to the physical addiction, people can also develop a psychological tolerance to the pain medication, as they become more and more desensitized to the effects of the drug.
Physical and psychological tolerance to the drug is the first red flag indicating that youíre quickly becoming addicted to pain medication. Without refuting the painkillersí benefits, you should keep a close eye on your intake and take them correctly.
By crossing that fine line, you will witness the painkillers turn from being a friend to a foe so be cautious!