DEFINITIONS OF SOME EXPRESSIONS YOUR DOCTOR MAY USE — PAINKILLERS AND ADDICTION (PART 1)

It is a fact that many painkillers are addictive. However, it is extremely rare for people who use painkillers as painkillers to become addicted to them. Addiction is much, much more likely to develop in people who take painkillers not for pain relief, but in order to get a lift, escape from reality or for some other such reason. If you take painkillers for pain, you will find that you can stop taking them quite easily if, and when, your pain is relieved by some other means. Provided you stop them gradually over a couple of days, the worst that will happen is that you may get some mild withdrawal symptoms such as temporary restlessness, difficulty in sleeping and a runny nose. If you get these symptoms, it does not mean that you were addicted. It just means that your body had got used to having the drug around and is now readjusting to being without it again.

I know it is not easy to overcome a fear of addiction and just allow yourself to take as much painkiller as you need. Try to rid yourself of the idea that painkillers are things that enslave you unless you constantly struggle to take them as little as possible. Who would you say is the real slave—the person who is so immobilised and preoccupied by pain that life is miserable for themselves and their family and friends or the one who takes enough painkillers to stay relaxed and comfortable? Uncontrolled pain is a much greater tyrant than painkillers taken so that they do relieve pain.

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