Is someone really an addict if they have been prescribed medication for pain and can no longer function without the medication? This is a question I am often asked. They are certainly dependent on the painkiller but they are not necessarily an ‘addict’. They may well need clinical help coming off the substance due to the physical withdrawals they may experience. If they have maintained using the painkiller as prescribed and have not varied from the prescribed regime I would suggest they are not an addict in the sense of addiction being a disease. The addiction as a ‘disease’ model states that an addict will have lost the ability to control the use of the substance: that once they take the first one they will be physically compelled to consume more alongside being mentally obsessed to use more. Many people go into hospital and have to be treated with opiated painkiller. These patients as a rule do not go on and become ‘addicts’. They stop taking the pain killers, feel a little under the weather for a few days and then get up and carry on with their lives. It is those that cannot stop using once they have been given pain killers despite experiencing negative consequences that are ‘addicts’. Doctors are prescribing more and more opiated pain killers than ever before. Those that go on to become addicted to these opiated drugs end up facing many of the same problems as any other ‘addict’. They are not special and different and in some way ‘better than other addicts’ as is often the thought processes of people with addictions to OTC (over the counter) or prescription drugs. This thought process ties into their denial of the problem. Denial is one of the main characteristics of all ‘addicts’. They have moved into what is called non-medical use of OTC drugs and/or prescription drugs. The nonmedical use of a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication implies that the user is using it for reasons other than those indicated in the prescribing literature or on the box label. The abuse of these medications is a national issue. Prescription medications are those pharmaceuticals dispensed by a pharmacist on the presentation of a prescription written by a physician, dentist, or other health care provider who is legally authorized to write prescriptions. OTC medications are pharmaceuticals that do not require a prescription and are sold on the shelves of markets, stores, and pharmacies.
Addiction to OTC medication and prescription medication needs to be treated in exactly the same way as any other addiction. For help with prescription painkillers please contact Victoria Abadi Therapies on 07983726647 or firstname.lastname@example.org