The Reality of Opiod Dependence and How to Find Help

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Helping Hands

Image courtesy of Snapshooter46 on Flickr.

Sometimes We Need a Helping Hand

We’re only human. How many times have you heard that phrase?

I’m going to bet that it’s been hundreds of times. It’s used on television, in the movies, by our friends and family members. Unfortunately, most of us forget just what it means to be human. Humanity isn’t all good, but it’s not all bad either. A complex mix of emotions and experiences make us the people that we are. Not one of us is perfect. We all have faults. Yet, we have the tendency to judge others for their faults. Yes, me included.

Today, I want to talk about a serious situation that’s affecting countless lives – and I’m going to talk about it without passing judgement.

What is this subject?

Addiction.

Opioid addiction and addiction to other substances can happen to anyone, but it hurts the most when it’s your family or close friends. When we see the lives of people we love change so dramatically; their mannerisms, their attitudes and their health; it has an effect on our own lives. It’s not only deadly for the addicted, but for those that care about them. Many of us know no other course than to separate ourselves from the situation, but sometimes a helping hand can make all the difference in the world.

Opioid Addiction – It Can Happen to Anyone

What many don’t realize is that most victims of opioid addiction don’t purposely ingest opioids in order to achieve a high. It’s quite the opposite. The majority of victims become addicted after being prescribed medications to help them cope with the pain of an accident, medical procedure or chronic health condition. They have trusted that the medication will ease the pain and allow them to function from day to day. Unfortunately, our bodies build a tolerance to these medications and, even when properly managed, addiction can occur.

Often stigmatized as bad behavior, poor judgement or weak morals, opioid dependence – also known as opioid prescription painkiller and heroin addiction – is a chronic disease affecting increasingly more Americans each and every year. Over time, prescription painkillers can alter the brain’s chemistry by “resetting” the brain so that one begins to physically and psychologically feel that they need opioid prescription painkillers just to get through their day.

When a person becomes addicted to opioid medications, there are often symptoms of addiction that we can see. These include, but are not limited to: apprehension, secretiveness, defensiveness, depression, anger, carelessness, clumsiness, tiredness, lying, confusion, lack of interest, change in goals, lack of affection, slurring words, dizziness, doctor shopping, change in attitude.

My Personal Experience with Opioid Addiction

Although you may not know it, the chances are good that we each know at least one person that is currently addicted to opioids. In fact, the CDC states in “Policy Impact: Prescription Painkiller Overdoses that:

Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990 and have never been higher. In 2008, more than 36,000 people died from drug overdoses, and most of these deaths were caused by prescription drugs.

My own experiences with the addicted hit close to home with family members and close friends that have become addicted to prescription medications and other substances. Most recently, the cousin of my significant other attempted suicide in a desperate plea to get his wife to seek help. Luckily, he survived the attempt, thanks in part to a neighbor.

After nearly 4 years of watching his wife travel through the downward spiral that is addiction, explaining to her doctors that she has a very real problem, and living with the person that she has become; he had hit a dead end. He didn’t want a divorce. He wanted her to seek help. He tried to make her doctors aware of the situation so that she could get help, but the doctors continued to prescribe her the medication, with one actually increasing her dosage. Yes, she has two doctors prescribing her pain pills, and possibly more that we is unaware of. When her prescriptions are gone, she steals medication from others, including her husband.

These people that used to just love being around my child can now no longer see him because I won’t allow my son to be around a person that is a danger to themselves and the people around them. We’ve suggested help, as have many others, but she refuses to admit that there’s a problem. Like most that become addicted, they have to admit the addiction before they can truly be helped. When she’s ready, we will be there for her. Until then, we’ve done what we can do without putting ourselves in the position of enabler.

ResetRealityBadge

Opioid Addiction – Where to Find Help

Reset Reality is a public health initiative designed to spread awareness and understanding about the prevalence, science and treatment of opioid prescription painkiller addiction in the United States. It encourages those living with prescription Painkiller addiction to step back, reflect and hit the “reset” button by working with a healthcare professional in their area to begin the journey towards creating a new “reality.”

ResetReality.com serves as an online resource where you and your loved ones can find information and tools to help you learn more about opioid dependence, including a symptom screener and a resource to find a doctor that is certified to treat opioid prescription painkiller and/or heroin addiction. Additionally on the site, you are able to share “Words of Reality” or lend support with words of inspiration.

When you or your loved one is ready to seek help, I encourage you to visit Reset Reality. Read the stories of others who have overcome opioid painkiller addiction, like Cheryl. Her story resonated with me, as a mother myself. For Cheryl, it was her position of being a mother that helped her realize it was time for her to reset her reality and get back to what was more important. Stories like hers may resonate with you, or the loved one you’re trying to help. Knowing that others have overcome addiction may provide hope in what seems like a hopeless time.

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us. I knew a guy that was a friend of my ex-husband and he got very addicted to Herion and he stopped and was weaned off and wouldn’t see anyone in his old life because he was afraid it would trigger him to want to start doing it again. For a long time he wouldn’t see anyone but I checked and he is on FB and seems fine now.

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