An experienced doctor who is certified to treat opioid dependence will understand what you’re going through. You might begin the conversation by telling your doctor how you’ve been feeling lately. Explain that you’re concerned about your use of opioids and think you may have become dependent.
It’s important that you are open and honest so your doctor can give you the best care. Be specific. Tell your doctor:
- When you began misusing opioids, what you take, how much, and how often
- If you got prescriptions from several doctors
- If you crushed the tablets to take them in another form, such as snorting or injecting
- If you’ve tried to stop using opioids and felt ill (you may have experienced withdrawal symptoms)
- If you have found yourself using illicit drugs, including heroin
- Anything else that might help your doctor understand what you’ve been experiencing
Get all of your questions answered
Create a list of questions to ask the doctor, and bring them along so you don’t forget anything. You might be wondering:
- Do I need treatment?
- Can medication-assisted treatment help me?
- Will I experience withdrawal?
- How long does treatment typically last?
- How will counseling help me?
- What is my role in treatment? What are my responsibilities?
Questions your doctor may ask you
In order to understand the exact nature of your medical condition and recommend the best treatment, your doctor will have questions. Here are some you might hear:
- Do you still have a medical reason to use prescription pain medication, such as a need for pain relief?
- Do you take the medicine the way it was prescribed—the right number of tablets and at the right times during the day?
- Have you ever used anyone else’s prescription?
- Have you ever sought pain medicine from several doctors at the same time?
- Have you ever felt the need to cut down on your use of prescription opioid pain medication?
- Have you ever given up activities to use prescription opioid pain medications?
- Are you spending more time on activities to get prescription opioid pain medications?
- Do you feel sick if you can’t get enough drugs, and only feel normal when you do get them?
- Do you use prescription opioid pain medication despite negative consequences?
- Do you use any illicit drugs (for example, heroin)?
Feel free to speak frankly and honestly. Remember, what you tell your doctor is private and will not be shared without your explicit permission.
Remember, opioid dependence is a serious, long-term medical condition that needs care as much as any other chronic disease. Fortunately, it can be treated. That’s why talking with your doctor is so important.