Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I tell if I'm addicted to my pain killers?"
I started using pain killers for my back pain a month ago. Now I think I'm addicted. How can I stop?
The first question I have for you is what type of pain killer you have started taking. There are many different types, but the ones that are known for being addictive are the narcotic pain medications. Examples of this type of medication include hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine. Addiction to these pain medications is a significant problem. Symptoms of addiction to the pain killers include the desire to take them when you are not having pain, diarrhea, thinking about ways to get more when you begin running out. Other pain medications that are often prescribed include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. While these medications often work quite well, they are not addictive. The best thing you can do if you don't want the long term side effects of narcotic pain medications is to wean yourself off of them. This means that you will need to take less and less each day. This is type of narcotic taper is something that you can plan out with your doctor. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, or whoever prescribed your pain killers. Tell this doctor that you want to try a different type of pain management other than what you are currently on. There will be options that will work that are not addictive and don't have the long term side effects. Good luck.
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