Why do patients get stuck on Pain Killers???

pain killersSome patients will come in to my office and tell me the following story. This is a story I have heard about a thousand times.

“you know I started getting the medications for my back injury but then after a while even though my back was getting better, I noticed that the pain killers would help calm me down.”

“Then I would think to myself, whats the harm. Its only like its a leftover pain killer from before… it was prescribed after all… Its legal… whats the harm if I take one once a week just before board meetings. Its never more than once a week… oh yes there was that time my inlaws came over and I had to use one then too but hey never more than twice a week… umm I mean ok. So then there was that week aunt Margaret came to town and her whole crazy family but I mean that was legit… its sooo rare that I do more than like 4 or 5 pills a week…”

Can you hear where this is going??? what started as a legitimate issue is now spiraling out of control with lots of justifications, minimizations, rationalizations. Its a dangerous game!!! Before you know it, your brain is so used to having this little “friend” around anytime it gets stressed that it becomes the norm and not having it makes the brain very unhappy…

Don’t despise the addict, despise the disease !!