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Preventing Pain Medication Abuse After Surgery

A woman recovering from surgery struggling to prevent pain medication abuse.

After surgery, you may be prescribed medication as part of your pain management. The purpose of these medications is to help alleviate pain and discomfort while your body heals. Unfortunately, various types of medications can have addictive properties, like opioids. The appropriate dosage will depend on what type of surgery you had, how fast you are recovering, and other factors. As a result, it is essential to take the drugs as prescribed, preventing pain medication abuse after surgery. Preventing this abuse will reduce the risks of becoming dependent on the medication and developing an addiction.

Managing the Risks of Pain Medication Abuse

Frequently, opioids are used to treat pain after surgery because of their effectiveness in alleviating post-surgical pain. However, there are risks of abusing opioids to manage pain because of the body’s ability to develop a tolerance to them. 

Tolerance is noticeable when you take the drugs and do not notice any change in your pain level. Even though the medication is working, you may feel like the current dosage is no longer sufficient. While it can be tempting to increase the dosage and self-medicate, you should avoid this practice. 

Doing so can increase the risks of addiction because your body will crave higher dosages to alleviate your pain. If you feel like your medication is no longer working, talk to your doctor to explore other pain management options or other medications. 

Limiting the Time You Take Pain Medications

In addition, the longer you take opioid pain medications, the more difficult it can be to discontinue their usage later. In order to prevent pain medication abuse, these types of drugs should be taken how they were prescribed. 

Furthermore, you should only take the medication if you need it. If you are not in pain or can tolerate the pain level, it is better to skip a dosage and only take it when needed. Most importantly, you and your doctor should have a plan in place to limit the length of time you will take addictive pain medications. 

Gradually Weaning Yourself Off Pain Meds

As your body continues to heal post-surgically, your doctor should start to wean you off your pain medication gradually. This is usually accomplished by reducing the dosage and frequency you take the drugs. The reason this is done is to help you avoid unwanted withdrawal symptoms from the medication. 

Avoid Mixing Alcohol and Other Drugs with Pain Medications

Another effective method to manage addiction risks is to avoid drinking alcohol or taking other drugs while taking pain medications. These substances can enhance the effects of the drugs, causing cravings for the pain meds even more. 

Be Aware of the Signs of Pain Medication Addiction 

To prevent pain medication abuse, you need to be aware of the signs that could indicate you are developing an addiction to your pain meds, such as:

  • Inability to function without being under the influence of the medication.
  • Adjusting your dosage levels without consulting with your doctor.
  • Taking more of the medication than prescribed.
  • Lying to your doctor about your level of pain so you can continue the medication.
  • Attempting to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors.
  • Lying to your doctor and telling them you lost your prescription to get more drugs.
  • Counting your pills to know how many you have left. 
  • Feeling a sense of panic or anger when your doctor mentions beginning the weaning process.
  • Drinking alcohol or experimenting with other drugs to enhance the effects of your pain meds.

Getting Help for Pain Medication Abuse

If you are experiencing the signs of pain medication addiction, it is essential to get help before the addiction worsens. The longer you ignore the signs, the harder it will be for you to stop using the medication. Additionally, you will be tempted to self-medicate and supplement your pain meds with alcohol and other drugs. 

Understandably, it can be challenging to admit you need help because you may not yet be fully aware of your problem or necessarily want help. However, once you are ready to admit you are abusing your pain meds, supervised medication rehab treatment programs are available. 

These programs are designed to help you gradually wean off your addictive pain meds by using other forms of drug therapies through MAT (medication-assisted treatment). Quite often, you can continue taking some form of non-addictive pain medication while in recovery when you are still recovering from your surgical procedure.   

Pain Medication Addiction Treatment for Men in Dallas

If you are looking for pain medication addiction treatment for men, help is available at Casa Colina in Dallas. We can work with you and your doctor to determine the most appropriate supervised medication rehab treatment program to help wean you off your addictive pain meds safely in a caring and supportive environment just for men. 

Our goal is to ensure you get the pain relief you need after your surgery while helping you overcome your addiction to pain meds. To learn more about our pain medication addiction treatment program and recovery options, please feel free to visit our contact form or call us today! 

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