Helping a Loved One on Painkillers

This guest post by Susan White takes a look at the progressive nature of painkiller addiction and offers a few tips on how to proceed if a loved one is addicted to painkillers.

If there ever was a classic case of opposites attracting, it has to be that of me and my spouse:

  • I’m a health nut while he’s a couch potato
  • I hate visiting the doctor (unless it’s really serious) while he’s a compulsive pill popper
  • I dread illness while he’s a regular hypochondriac

He needs to take a tablet for any ache or pain that he has, real or imaginary.   Very often, he uses OTC (“over the counter”) drugs to treat himself, refusing to go to a doctor because it is a “waste of time and money.”

There eventually came a time when he reacted adversely to the cocktail of drugs he regularly treated himself with, and that was the end of his self-medication days. Today, he realizes that medicines must be used responsibly and judiciously if they are to benefit us.

Thankfully, he was not hooked on painkillers in an extreme way, because an addiction to painkillers is much worse than pill popping for imaginary ailments. If you’re looking for help in addressing the painkiller addiction of a loved one, here’s are some suggestions:

1. Get them into a rehab program:

The sooner you do this, the better. There’s no way to do this without professional help because there is a detoxification process that is used to help the dependent person cope with the pain that they crave the painkiller for. A few weeks or even months in rehab are needed before they can start to function normally again. They need to be under constant medical supervision during the detoxification stage because the chemical changes taking place in their body will affect them adversely and make them react unpredictably. With trained professionals caring for them in rehab facilities, they will have the best chance to make a full recovery –  slowly but steadily.

2. Stop them from drinking:

Drugs and alcohol form a very potent cocktail, one that seemingly gives you an unprecedented high, but one that can actually kill you in one stroke. So until you’re able to get your loved one into a rehab facility, stop them from imbibing alcohol as it makes their situation worse.

3.  Monitor them upon their release:

It’s very easy to fall back into old habits, especially if you’re not dedicated or determined enough to kick them. So even though your loved one has completed their rehabilitation program, you must monitor them to make sure they don’t slip back into their old ways.

It’s harder to kick the habit the second time, so ensure that they stick to the right path.

When you’re addicted to painkillers and pop them without a second thought to your health, you risk side effects like nausea, headaches, drowsiness, low blood pressure, urinary retention, constipation and a host of other side effects that are not very pleasant. And if you’re not careful about the drugs you take simultaneously, you could be ingesting a potentially deadly cocktail, one that literally sucks the life out of you. So use painkillers judiciously, only when and for as long as prescribed by your doctor.