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Pain Medication: Are You Addicted?

What to know about becoming addicted to pain medications.

5. Ask for Help

If you feel like you're losing control over your pain medicine use, or if you have questions about whether you're becoming addicted to it, you may want to consult a doctor who specializes in pain medicine. He or she should listen to your concerns without judgment and take a reasoned approach.

For instance, if she thinks you need to get off a certain drug, she might look into switching you to another drug with less potential for misuse. If your doctor isn't comfortable handling your situation, consider getting a second opinion from a psychiatrist or addiction specialist, Miotto says.

6. Take Precautions

Pain-relieving drugs can lead to problems other than addiction, Miotto says. Keep opiates locked away so kids, teens, and others in your home can't take them.

And be extra-cautious using other prescription and over-the-counter drugs along with opiates. Certain combinations could cause you to become unconscious, stop breathing, and even die.

When Candy Pitcher, now 56, makes her monthly visits to the pain clinic, the staff gives her random drug tests and counts her morphine pills. She doesn't mind the attention. "Because of the benefits the opioid has given me, I'm willing to do it," she says.

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Reviewed on June 19, 2012

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