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In the past, narcotics were used only
for short periods for short-term pain or for cancer pain. Many experts now also
use them for longer periods to treat chronic pain. You can take these drugs, which are sometimes called opioids, to
reduce pain and increase your functioning without becoming addicted.
Narcotics are strong medicines. They are safest when you use them exactly as your doctor prescribes. There is a small risk of addiction when you take narcotics. The risk is greater for those who have a history of substance use. Others who are more at risk for addiction are teenagers, older adults, people who have depression, and those who take high doses of medicine.
What should you do if you think you may be addicted?
If you think you may be addicted, talk to your doctor. Signs of addiction include the following:
When you are addicted to painkillers for a long time, withdrawal can be very difficult. But treatment is available to help you through that process.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRobert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Current as ofAugust 18, 2016
Current as of:
August 18, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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