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Prescription Pain Medication: Am I Addicted?

With so many of us fighting a daily battle with the aches and pains associated with growing older, we thought it was past time to touch on a delicate subject, addiction.

A recent article printed WebMD and written by Miranda Hitti shows us a few myths about prescription pain medications and addiction that may make many of us feel a little less shamed and perhaps able to speak with our doctors plainly about such concerns.

  1. If you have withdrawal symptoms or need a higher dosage to manage your pain you must be addicted.

    Not true. The reality is that you can build up a tolerance to a medication and need a higher dosage for the medication to work as well but that does not automatically prove you are addicted. The same holds true for withdrawal symptoms.

    "Everybody can become tolerant and dependent to a medication, and that does not mean that they are addicted," says Christopher Gharibo, MD, director of pain medicine at the NYU Langone Medical School and NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. "They occur in drugs that aren't addictive at all, and they occur in drugs that are addictive. So it's independent of addiction," says Fishman, who is the president and chairman of the American Pain Foundation and a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medication. "Physical dependence, which can include tolerance and withdrawal, is different," says Weiss. "It's a part of addiction but it can happen without someone being addicted."

    She adds that if people have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking their painkiller, "it means that they need to be under a doctor's care to stop taking the drugs, but not necessarily that they're addicted."

  2. It is better to deal with the pain then it is to risk becoming addicted.

    Not true!

    "People have a right to have their pain addressed," says Fishman. "When someone's in pain, there's no risk-free option, including doing nothing."

If you are in pain speak with your doctor right away. There is no reason to suffer needlessly or silently. "We don't want to make people afraid of taking a medication that they need," says Weiss. Call Medicare is Simple at 1-800-266-3354 for information on Medicare insurance, specifically Medicare in NYC and other states. Not only will you find quality coverage from the leading carriers in the state, you will also save money by comparison shopping. Get free Medicare insurance quotes in minutes by using our online quote engine. We've been helping seniors find the right Medicare insurance plans and providers for several years and can do the same for you or your loved one.