Painkiller abuse and addiction are becoming larger and larger problems among those who have health insurance and access to regular doctors. The good news is that this access to health care increases the likelihood that their issues with addiction will be identified by a medical professional who can guide them toward treatment. The bad news is that many doctors simply don’t know all that they could about opiate abuse and addiction, which means that they may:
- Not recognize opiate addiction in patients
- Misdiagnose opiate abuse as something else
- Fall victim to “doctor shopping” scams
- Inadvertently feed someone’s addiction by increasing their opiate dose
This is bad news for patients who may not even recognize that they are living with an opiate addiction without assistance and worse news for those who go to their doctor hoping to get guidance and/or treatment.
Many doctors are unaware that diversion of prescription drugs is such a common practice. As a result, they may take claims of chronic pain at face value rather than investigate with medical testing or follow up continually. Too often, addicts get the drugs to fuel their addiction from legitimate providers who believe that they are helping to ease the patient’s chronic pain. They don’t realize when use becomes abuse and then turns into an addiction and inadvertently become enablers instead of healers.
When a patient reports an addiction to his medication, his doctor may or may not respond by trying to get him off the drug. Some may simply say that physical dependence can be normal while others may offer to back down the dose or to try a different medication if the patient is unhappy with the results. Even those who recommend drug rehab to address the issue may not be very helpful when it comes to pinpointing which program will provide the best care specific to the patient’s needs.
If opiate addiction is the main issue, it’s important to choose a drug rehab that offers care not just for the physical dependence but also psychotherapeutic treatment for the psychological cravings for the drug, underlying issues that may have driven the addiction in the first place, and chronic or intermittent pain. Not just any drug rehab will do.
Best Course of Action: Immediate Treatment
If you believe that opiate addiction is an issue for someone you love, sending them to the family doctor will do little good. Instead, connect them with a drug rehab program that offers intensive detox and ongoing psychotherapeutic intervention. Call us at Alta Mira now.