How To Handle Doctor Appointments While In Recovery From Drug Addiction

If an individual finds themselves feeling like they are becoming dependent, and thus addicted to their prescription narcotic medication, they should let their doctor know, or the doctor may make that call for them.
The vast majority of all addictions to prescription drugs begin in the doctor’s office.

Every day many more people accept prescriptions for what unknowingly sets the stage from an addiction. Some individuals are naive and think that they will never get hooked; however, sometimes the chemical desire is stronger than willpower. Anyone can become caught in the dangerous cycle of addiction.   

For those that have an addictive past, and are already diagnosed as addicts, the doctor’s office can be a scary place. Essentially, the doctor’s office can be looked at as a candy shop for addicts. If the doctor is not privy to an addict’s history, and sees no reason not to prescribe narcotics, some doctors can be quick with the prescription pad. Doctors who are not so easy to give narcotics from will lose some addicts as patients because they will continuously change doctors until they get one that will prescribe what they wish to take. This is a crime known as “doctor shopping” and is punishable by law if it can be proven.

There are some addicts who, particularly early in recovery, can easily find themselves walking out of the doctor’s office with a prescription for narcotics in their hands without even realizing it. A doctor can simply take a symptom, such as pain, and prescribe an opiate to a heroin addict. Once the addict has the opiate in their hand, the thoughts that travel through their mind become a whole different train. Suddenly, they may experience anxiety over having access to their vice so freely. They may wonder if they should tell someone, while part of them is wanting to keep it a secret. The thoughts of the road they have already traveled down presenting itself as they argue with themselves over whether or not they should even get the prescription filled. Addiction and recovery can sometimes be like having two people in your mind: the two people argue over what is right, what others will know, and what the true desire is. The bottom line comes down to whether or not the addict wants to stay clean.

This is why it is so important for addicts, whether they are seeing a new doctor or psychiatrist or staying with their current one, to tell their doctor their addiction history. Most of the time, a doctor will make a note of something as important as that. Good and ethical doctors will treat it as an allergy, rather than treating the addicted patient as a criminal.

If an individual finds themselves feeling like they are becoming dependent, and thus addicted to their prescription narcotic medication, they should let their doctor know, or the doctor may make that call for them.

Here are some easy ways to tell if prescription narcotic use is getting becoming an addiction:

1. Tolerance: Are you taking more than you originally had to achieve the same effect?
2. Needing refills: Are you finding yourself in need of refills before it is time?
3. Taking them as not as needed: Are you taking them when you need them or when you feel like it?
4. Trouble stopping: Do you get sick or have withdrawal symptoms when you miss a dose or do not take one for a few days? Are you taking them to stay well?

What are some withdrawal symptoms of narcotic prescription medication?

Withdrawal is a serious condition that happens when use of a substance is lessened significantly or stopped suddenly. The severity of withdrawal will vary depending on many variables including the substance abused, the duration and frequency of the use, and the overall health of the user. If the addict is already in poor health, they will be more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms on a more uncomfortable and painful level than someone who is in fair health who has not been using as long or as extreme. Common signature withdrawal symptoms that are associated with prescription medication withdrawal include:

• Shakes/tremors
• Excessive perspiration
• Extreme anxiety and panic
• Headache
• Nausea with or without vomiting
• Severe depression
• Fever
• Insomnia
• Diarrhea
• Intense cravings for the drug
• Depersonalization
• Depending on the drug abused, hallucinations or delusions

Withdrawal is the body and brain’s reaction to the chemical dependence that has formulated to a narcotic addiction; it is complicated, serious, and dangerous. There are both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that can be severe enough to interrupt a normal life. If someone you know, or yourself has been taking prescription narcotic medications regularly, and is experiencing any of these symptoms, professional medical attention must be sought immediately. It is never a good idea to stop a prescription narcotic medication “cold turkey” and most definitely not without a doctor’s advice. If the withdrawal symptoms are serious enough, the doctor may refer the addict to a detoxification facility so that they may have constant medical supervision during their withdrawal process. Overall, anytime narcotics are involved in the past, present, or in the future of an individual’s health, the guidance of medical professionals should never be taken for granted. 

Realize that doctors see more than one patient a day. Sometimes they forget, get confused, or neglect to read a chart or medical history. Doctors are humans who are capable of making human errors and, unfortunately, sometimes those errors can negatively affect their patients. Only the patient is fully aware of their own medical history; therefore, it is important for them to remind a doctor or psychiatrist of their past should the medical professional forget.

The doctor-patient relationship is based largely on a mutual trust. The doctor must be able to trust that their patient will be honest with them no matter what, just as much as the patient needs to be able to trust that the doctor will not prescribe them something that will aggravate their ailments. If that trust is broken, sometimes legal action is taken, such as medical malpractice cases, or doctor shopping charges.         

If an addict ever finds themselves in a situation with a doctor or psychiatrist in which the doctor has forgotten that they are an addict, or the addict has not been honest about the doctor, the best thing for them to do is to tell on themselves. Through speaking up and being their own advocates, addicts can prevent relapse and further problems with drugs that could arise simply by accepting a prescription for narcotics. 

Distributed by Discovery Place Inc

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