Not all people are at the same risk for addiction. Some people can take morphine every day for chronic pain and never have a problem with it. Others may start experiencing addiction from the very first dose.
The same goes for other addictive prescription drugs.
Certain factors can increase your odds of becoming addicted. These include, but are not limited to:
- Smoking or Other Drug Addiction – Smoking and other addictions including alcohol actually rewire the brain to form addictions more easily. If you smoke or have had drug problems in the past, you are at higher risk of getting addicted to prescription medications.
- Some Mental Illnesses – People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression are at higher risk of addiction, particularly from opioids. Opioids prescribed for surgery or chronic pain can quickly become abused to self-medicate for these and other mental disorders.
- Family History Of Addiction – If one or both of your parents has suffered from addiction in the past, your odds of becoming addicted can increase by up to 50 percent.
- Lack Of Awareness – Someone who has not been educated about their drug’s potential side effects, or who is not aware that the drug is addictive, can be at much higher risk of addiction. These individuals may also be at risk of negative side effects due to drinking alcohol while taking their medication.
- Peer Pressure – Especially for teens and young adults, friends, and acquaintances can be a significant influence on behavior. This may be one friend, or it might be a neighborhood culture of drug abuse.
- Age – Young people aged 18-25 are at the highest risk of addiction. People at this age are more likely to experiment with drugs to get high. 18-25 year-olds are also more likely to use alcohol when taking prescription drugs, increasing the probability of negative side effects.
Another high-risk group is senior citizens, who are more likely to be taking multiple medications that may interact with each other. Seniors are also more likely to forget they’ve taken their medicine, leading to accidental overdose.
- Access To Prescription Drugs – Having relatives’ drugs in the house, or having leftover drugs from an old prescription, can make it easier to become addicted.
Working With Your Doctor
In recent years, doctors have become more aware of the risks associated with prescription drug addiction. There are stricter guidelines on how much of a drug can be prescribed at one time, and doctors are less likely to prescribe strong medications when a weaker medicine will do the job.
In the battle against addiction, your doctor is your first line of defense. If you’re concerned that you may become addicted, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
Our medical professionals may be more educated than ever when it comes to addiction, but they still rely on their patients to keep them appraised of any issues. Your doctor can adjust your dosage, or find an alternative medication that can treat your symptoms.