Pain Killers – I depend on them too much. What should I do?

PainKillersDoes this describe you? 

  • Trying to quit but can’t.
  • Taking a drug to keep symptoms at bay – for example – diarrhea, vomiting, cramps in the abdomen, flu, sweats, trembling, nasal congestion, insomnia, enlarged pupils, restlessness, increased heart rate, or strange emotions.
  • Maybe increasing the dose as your body gets used to the drug.

You need to manage your pain, but you don’t want to wake up one day and find yourself taking all the drugs put in front of you and looking for more.

Know who you are.

You are aware of your risk and thinking what to do about it.  So you’re not a lab rat, OK?  You’re a precious human being made in the image of God.

Know what’s going on.

  1. Doctor, Dealer:  Drugs from a doctor are just as dangerous as drugs from a dealer.
  2. Energy, Danger:  If you feel a boost of energy – not just pain control – from your prescription, look out!
  3. No Pain, No Pill:  If you don’t have much pain but take a pain killer anyway, it only takes three weeks for you to become dependent on that drug.  For true pain, we have good pain killers, yet medical research shows that taking them without real pain leads to dependency.

Find help here.

Get with your healthcare provider right away if …

  1. If you get energized on a pain killer
  2. If you’ve been taking a pain killer even though you only have minor pain

Be totally honest – tell exactly what’s going on. Your honesty will be appreciated.

Alternative treatments might work. Your doctor may monitor you more closely or refer you to a pain management specialist.

When your doctor doesn’t get it…

If your doctor does not seem to understand, or care, or know what to do – find someone who does.  Ask around the community.

  • Consult psychiatric services.  Do they know any good caring, knowledgeable, health provider who could help you? 
  • Seek out a wise drug and alcohol counselor.  Find one who goes above and beyond, who shows caring by getting involved.
  • Find a local minister who prays with you and offers sound counsel.

In all your seeking, be an active learner. Ask questions.  Ask about quality books and web sites.  Visit your public library.  A good librarian can be a second head on your shoulders, and our free public libraries have a wealth of information.

Make it your job to fix this problem now.  It goes wherever you go, so addressing this hindrance is the key to your future.

Do you have drug-related concerns about friends or family members or yourself? Invite your loved ones to click here for further articles in this series as we explore how humans can relate to opioids with freedom, dependency, or addiction.

Q & A with Doctor B — or — Ask the Doctor


This column is for information and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for seeing a medical provider for healthcare attention. This web site does not diagnose or treat any medical disease, disorder, ailment, etc., or otherwise practice medicine. Always consult your healthcare provider prior to embarking on or making any changes in any medical or psychiatric problems. Dr. Buckmaster does not receive funding from any pharmaceutical company, but is a self-reliant, independent, solo-practicing physician.

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