From Heartache to Hope

Life with the Alcoholic/Addict

Prescription Medication - a scary, legal road to addiction

A patient can easily develop a reliance on prescription medication

One would be hard pressed to find an adult who has never taken prescription medication for physical or emotional pain. Its part of today’s society to medicate what ails us. Prescription medication is designed to be easy and safe, but it can spar an addiction if not monitored. Most people in real physical or emotional pain who take prescription medication have honest and true intentions of alleviating their discomfort legally, with no intention or forethought of becoming addicted. I suffered from horrible back pain once, and when the doctors decided to administer some morphine, I certainly didn’t think, “Oh boy, now I can become a drug addict legally with no repercussions.”

Prescriptions are handed out today like flyers in Las Vegas. Whether you have a hangnail or an emotional hiccup, it seems that there are too many practitioners ready with their pads to prescribe any kind of anti-depressant, stimulant or muscle relaxer. Not only can your body become addicted, but your psyche and emotional senses can be dependent on such drugs as well. Sometimes a psychological addiction is more profound (and more difficult to eradicate) than a physical one.

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Being dependent on prescription medication has nearly become acceptable addiction. Look at how many celebrities and athletes have admitted they are addicted to their painkillers for various injuries. Taking medication for sleepless nights or an old football injury are easy and plausible excuses. We tend to find ourselves saying, “Oh, well, that’s okay and understandable. Poor people, look at their lives. They are under so much pressure or pain, so it’s okay.” Celebrities and sports figures can still remain popular and be role models because their prescription addictions are perceived as out of their control and not intentional. The general public professes that they these celebrities bring us so much joy, that they are above judgment, almost immortal and can do no wrong.

We excuse our own addictions because this public figure does it and look at them. Yet, we now (and the family and friends around us) that there really is no excuse for allowing oneself to become addicted to prescription medication.

Bottom line is be careful. Be mindful to take what you need while working a healthy rehabilitation road back from physical or emotional upheaval. Have a plan to wean yourself off and enlist your family and friends or a support team to help you. Please note that I am not talking about monitored medication for depression or anxiety through a Doctor’s watchful eye, but strong, mind altering medication.

In all these previous columns, I have listed a number of contributing factors toward addiction. You may have experienced something different with someone who has traveled a path toward an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Regardless of how one gets there, addiction is addiction, and it should b e treated as dangerous and possible life threatening. Please don’t take lightly any of these routes that may lead to addiction, as more likely than not it will come back to bite you. If you see a loved one percolating toward destructive behavior, remember that not only is the prospective addict at risk but you and your family as well. Sadly, very little cultivation is needed to take these scenarios from saplings to full-blown impervious trees that are extremely difficult to blow over or cut down.

If I can be of service, please visit my website www.familyrecoverysolutions.com and I invite you to explore my book Reclaim Your Life – You and the Alcoholic/Addict. It can be purchased through PayPal or at Amazon. In addition, my book is available as an audio through PayPal only.

Carole Bennett, M.A., is a family substance abuse counselor, lecturer, columnist and author based at her Family Recovery Solutions Counseling Center in Santa Barbara, CA.

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