It is nearly impossible for those not abusing and addicted to pain meds to understand how hard it is for those with the problem. When it comes to our loved ones, it is even much harder. The biggest problem for those with spouses who are addicted to prescription drugs is that it is hard to identify the addiction. It is not as visible as other addictions, but rather kept “below the surface” until something extremely noticeable happens. This could be back to back days of extreme lethargy, extreme loss in appetite, and constant unresponsiveness. Some may hide these symptoms better than others, but in due time the addiction can lead to severe consequences.
How to Tell if They Have a Prescription Drug Addiction
Although this is much harder than it sounds, it is up to you to determine if your spouse shows any signs of addiction to pain medication. Pain meds are usually given to patients following a treatment for other symptoms and medical issues. The problem lies in how long the treatment will last for; the longer the treatment timeframe, the higher the chance of addiction will set in. This does not mean that everyone being treated will get addicted, but taking the pain meds over and over can set the stage for it.
If you notice your spouse beginning to take the the pain meds much more often than usual, you must act right away. While prescription drugs are not as immediately deadly as other drugs and narcotics, it can be similarly dangerous to a degree. Those that take pain meds often will develop a tolerance and will require a higher dosage to alleviate their pain and discomfort. You must monitor the times your spouse takes them, and the dosage. Keeping them to a schedule of somewhat will help reduce risks of addiction. However, many families will not worry about pain medication addiction until a family member is addicted. So, how do we help them?
How to Help Your Spouse if the Addiction Has Already Set In
The very first thing to do if your spouse is addicted to pain meds is to create a safety plan. Not all addicts will be abusive, but when the body goes through withdrawals, many will lash out to get their fix. The idea for this step is to find a place of refuge and safety in case something were to drastically happen.
The next step is the most important one; you MUST support them, or find a group of people that can share the support. This is extremely crucial to ensure an overdose is less likely to happen. Whether this be other family members or friends and support groups, having others around will help take the burden off your shoulders. This reduces stress and keeps your overall well-being at much more healthier levels.
Finding professional help would work even better, even if it is costly. The most important factor here is providing them with love and understanding to help them break their addiction. Neglecting and ignoring their problem will just lead to increased consumption, further driving them down the addiction hole. However, it is OK to ignore them from time to time to discourage their behavior (but not when they really need help and guidance).
What if I Can’t Do More?
It is important to understand that not everyone can be helped, especially if they are extremely abusive and not compliant to try to get better. Seeking professional advice and medical attention will be your best move. Speak with a physician that specializes in prescription drug addictions and suboxone treatment. These doctors will be able to properly treat the addiction by administering the correct medications that will fight the addiction.
It can take some time to deal with your spouse, but at the end of the day if they are doing better then you can credit their recovery to your support. If you have a spouse that just can’t seem to kick their prescription drug addiction, contact Dr. Ben Evans of Scottsdale Internal Medicine today. Our specialties lie in prescription drug abuse treatment and recovery for those addicted to opiates.