Opioid dependence, also known as opioid prescription painkiller addiction and heroin addiction – is a chronic disease affecting increasingly more Americans each year. While we may think people want to become addicted, that isn’t necessarily true.
Opioid’s are effective medicines in treating pain, however over time prescription painkillers can alter the brain’s chemistry by “resetting” the brain so one begins to physically and psychologically feel they need opioid prescription painkillers.
I’ve heard the stories and witnessed addiction firsthand, so I’ve always been paranoid about the possibility of becoming addicted to painkillers. After several surgeries I opted not to get painkiller medication. I’ve seen how easily it is to become addicted, yet so very hard to eliminate the addiction.
Opioid dependence is a chronic medical disease that needs to be treated and can happen to anyone. It can worsen over time if it is not treated – luckily, there is hope and there is help.
Reset Reality is 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 to work towards creating a new “reality.” A new reality that doesn’t involve opioid usage.
ResetReality.com is an online resource where you can find information and tools to help learn 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 one can share their “Words of Reality” or lend support with words of inspiration.
It’s amazing how the perception of Opioid addiction has people thinking that it’s only people of a certain stereotype or walk of life, when in reality it can happen to anyone. Opioid dependence is not selective – anyone taking painkillers is susceptible to addiction.
There are also those who are addicted and in denial because they think it’s OK and that they aren’t part of the ‘addicts’ group, simply because they have a prescription and they’re only taking what a doctor has prescribed.
This is the misnomer my niece has had the unfortunate prevalent mindset – forget about the fact that she has 15 documented ER visits within a 2-year period in order to obtain those prescriptions. Unfortunately she still hasn’t accepted any offered help, nor sought help for her addiction, and continues to be in denial even as she’s serving time in jail for crimes related to her addiction.
Opioid dependence can affect everyone differently, here are some signs and symptoms to keep watch for:
If you know someone who has an Opioid dependency, let them know you are there to support them. Do what you can to help them and guide them, and at the very minimum give them information – Reset Reality is an excellent resource.
Remind them that they are not alone, there are others in the same situation with similar stories, and the addiction can be overcome.
Note: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating. As always, all opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources. See my disclosure policy here.