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Can I be Addicted If I Take Medication as Prescribed?

Prescription medication has the second highest rates of abuse in the United States. However, many people find themselves physically dependent on medications like opioid or benzodiazepines even when they take them exactly as prescribed by a doctor. These high rates of addiction result from overprescribing of highly addictive medications, or medications with the potential to cause physical dependence being taken over a long period of time.

Opioids, specifically, are a major problem when it comes to prescription. Pain is difficult to quantify, and rely on the patient to properly report the intensity of their pain to determine the necessary amount of medication needed. There is no cut-and-dry method for opioid prescription. According to a 2017 article for the Harvard Business Review, “Enormous variation exists across providers’ opioid-prescribing habits…U.S. hospitals vary by nearly twofold in the prescribing of opioids after hospital discharge. In particular, rates of prescribing opioids upon hospital discharge range from 10% to 20% of discharged patients, depending on the hospital, with factors such as a high ratio of nurses per bed, rural location, government ownership, and high performance on inpatient pain-assessment scores all modestly associated with higher rates of opioid prescribing.”

It seems there is no clear reason why some doctors overprescribe medication and other do not, but the results are dramatic. Nearly 92 million Americans are prescribed opioid medication for pain treatment, and many will turn to illicit substances after they develop physical dependence. Patients put their trust into doctors to prescribe the correct strength and amount of prescription medication. However, doctors currently prescribe four times more medication than they did 15 years ago. Dr. Jack Ende, president of the American College of Physicians, explains that much of this overprescribing is derived from changing beliefs about pain, “”If patients were not totally rid of their pain, that implied the physician was not doing his or her job or really didn’t care. That movement went way beyond proper medical care, so much so that there was a lot of overprescription of opioids for noncancer pain.” Because of this expectation that pain should not exist, more and more people are finding themselves falling into the trap of addiction as a consequence of trying to completely be rid of pain.

Life in active addiction is no way to live. If you are struggling or care for someone who is struggling with addiction, you know that life can be better. It’s time to live. Ready? Set- GO. Resilient House cultivates the resilience necessary to those in recovery for lasting wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Bringing together the best in clinical and holistic expertise, our full continuum of care is designed to help you change your life for good. Call us today for information: 833-CHANGE1