Maybe it’s the elephant in the room, something no one wants to address. You think you see the tell-tale signs – pinpoint pupils, falling asleep at inappropriate times, dramatic mood swings – but you’re not sure enough to voice your suspicions.
But offering your support and letting them know they’re not facing this alone might prevent it from progressing to levels no one thought possible. Studies show that people can develop a long-term dependence on prescription painkillers within five days, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Here’s how to fight back:
• Learn as much as you can about addictions to prescription opioid and over-the-counter painkillers. The toll of the opioid epidemic is staggering; someone dies of an opioid overdose every 15 minutes in the United States. The more you know about the causes, the behavior and the options available — such as chiropractic care — the better you can understand what is happening to your loved one.
• Realize that denial is a big part of the addiction, leading to the point where people will do anything to get another prescription. They may even harm themselves, as seen in the latest round of Truth Initiative ads. Your loved one may not want to hear what you have to say and they may strike out at you, trying to make you feel bad for thinking they have a problem. Respect the fact that they are in pain and they need relief. But let them know they need help in addressing it, they have options and that you are there for them. If you realize it is beyond your ability, call for help. One resource is 800-662-HELP (4357), a national helpline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that offers free, confidential information and referrals.
• Keep in mind, too, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. At the earliest sign of low back and neck pain, make an appointment with your local doctor of chiropractic. Numerous studies have led several health providers, including the American College of Physicians, to encourage chiropractic care as the first line of defense. The truth is, an overwhelming majority of Americans – 78 percent – prefer to try other approaches before taking prescription painkillers, according to the 2017 Gallup-Palmer College annual report. Your research of the opioid epidemic will probably include accounts of people like Army Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris, who used chiropractic care to overcome their addiction to painkillers.