One of the most talked-about issues among those in recovery is whether or not to take painkillers when you’re sober, and where to draw the line (if it’s even possible). This issue is important because there are so many kinds of painkillers out there today and prescriptions are handed out for anything from chronic migraine headaches to pain from a car accident or surgery.
Many doctors will prescribe these painkillers even if they know a patient is a recovering addict or alcoholic. This unfortunately presents a big challenge to these patients who have worked so hard to maintain their sobriety, but who also may be dealing with daily pain that is interfering with their lives. This is where we need to take a closer look at whether or not it’s possible to find a balance that allows someone to manage their pain while continuing to maintain their sobriety.
When painkillers may be necessary.
There are many instances when a prescription for painkillers may be necessary for managing pain and allowing the body to heal itself, or just when the pain has become a daily issue that makes life difficult. Some common instances that require a prescription for painkillers include:
-Recovering from painful car accident injuries
-Healing from broken, fractured, or splintered bones.
-Chronic pain that has begun interfering with life
How to set limits when being prescribed painkillers.
The first thing to do is talk to your doctor and make sure he or she is aware of your history. They should understand that you’re a recovering addict or alcoholic and that taking painkillers may compromise your recovery or lead to a relapse. Your doctor should also know the details of your history with drugs or alcohol, including what types of drugs you used in the past and if there is any prescription drug abuse in your history.
Another thing to be aware of is the level of tolerance you may already have toward certain types of painkillers. If your tolerance is high, the chances of a relapse are greater because your doctor will have to prescribe a higher dosage to effectively treat any pain. There is also the risk of developing other types of health problems from the side effects of using drugs. Sometimes the side effects alone can be the cause of relapse.
A few things to think about to help you decide whether or not you really need to be taking painkillers, or where you need to set limits include:
-Are there any alternative methods that can help you manage the pain effectively?
If you must take painkillers to manage your pain, then it’s important to take the following into consideration first:
-Are there other drugs you could take for treating pain that is not addictive?
-Can you work with your doctor on appropriate dosage of the drug?
-Can your doctor only prescribe limited quantities of the drug?
-Is there someone you trust who can store the painkillers for you, and give you dosages at the proper times?
These guidelines will help someone in recovery decide where they draw the line with painkillers. Because every person has a different history and relationship with prescription drugs, there is no one approach that will work for everyone. The type of pain is managed and its effect on health, healing, and day to day life are also important factors.