When if you’ve realized you’ve got a hydrocodone addiction, then what comes next?There’s a dual dilemma facing the patient who suffers from real pain. If you’re in treatment with a doctor and you become addicted to your pain medication, what can you do? Maybe your injury or illness has been so disruptive to your life and so debilitating that you can only handle your everyday functions with the help of a pain pill.
Hydrocodone addiction occurs whenever you take pain pills including Vicodin, Lortab, and Dolagesic, for starters. Many cough medicines contain hydrocodone, such as Hycotuss, Tussicaps, T-Gesic, and others. Taking any of those over an extended period of time is a surefire prescription for hydrocodone addiction. You lose yourself in the dual dilemma of the pain and the addiction, because your family doctor is not coordinating with any other treatment providers to help you become whole once again.
Do These Scenarios Sound Familiar?
- Your family doctor believes that you have developed a hydrocodone addiction, and he stops treating you for the pain because he thinks your need for addiction treatment is more important. This sets you up for disaster because even as you wrestle with issues coming from the addiction, your pain continues. You develop a complex pain disorder so that you end up depressed, debilitated, addicted, and still in pain.
- Maybe your doctor tries another medication. Many of them feel that Ultram, also known as tramadol, can help you without driving you to addiction, but that’s incorrect. Ultram is a synthetic opioid that affects the brain’s neural receptors the same as hydrocodone, codeine, or oxycodone. Maybe he prescribes a high dose of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication—ibuprofen, naloxone—but they are rough on the stomach. Acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, will eventually damage your liver.
- Your doctor eliminates the hydrocodone from your regimen but he never asks if you are using other drugs to help you get through the day, such as marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, or alcohol. About two-thirds of family doctors fail to ask their patients with pain for a complete list of both prescribed and non-prescribed drugs they are taking.
- Your doctor is way out of the loop about pain management issues. In one case, a middle-aged female went to her doctor complaining of frequent migraine headaches, about two or three times a month. The doctor wrote a prescription for a hydrocodone medication, and in no time the woman’s frequency of debilitating headaches rose to two or three times per week. The doctor blamed her for causing her own hydrocodone addiction, and her husband saw her as weak and whiny. The truth is that a side effect of long-term opiate use is—migraine headaches.
Blame for Hydrocodone Addiction
These are situations in which everybody owns a piece of the blame. Patients must speak up about an increasing dependence on their pain medication. The doctor’s responsibility is to bring in a physiatrist or a pain specialist. Pain issues often become complicated with emotional and family issues. The family members of the patient believe that malingering is taking place. The patient feels shame over the continued complaining and disability, and resentments begin to simmer.
A specialist to treat hydrocodone addiction can help only if there is a plan in place to treat the pain. If someone becomes addicted to any kind of medication, the treating physicians must coordinate as a team to help the person back to wellness. Sometimes the patient must face and be willing to try alternative therapies such as movement classes, hypnosis, acupuncture, or other therapies. Neither pain nor the hydrocodone addiction can continue without check.
If you worry that your treatment for pain issues is beyond your ability to control, consider asking for a referral to a pain clinic or physiatrist. Either of those specialists will want to see x-rays or MRI films, even if they are old. Discuss this as a plan with your family doctor, and tell him also that you’d like to consider treatment for oxycodone or hydrocodone addiction as a subsequent step. Once you’ve resolved your pain issue you can seek treatment for hydrocodone addiction at a methadone treatment program.