When Should I Tell My Doctor That I’m Addicted?

Addiction is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 20 million people in the U.S. needed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction in 2011. However, of those 20 million people, only 2.3 million got the help they needed to overcome their addiction.

People don’t get the treatment they need for a number of reasons. According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most cited reason for not getting help was simply because the person was not ready to stop using (38.8 percent of those survey). Other reasons given for not getting drug addiction help include the following:

  • Not having health coverage/no ability to pay for the treatment (32.1%)
  • Possible negative consequences from the workplace (12.3%)
  • Not knowing where to go for treatment (12%)
  • Concern about negative opinions from others (11.8%)

These last two reasons cause internal conflict for many addicts. They don’t know where to get treatment, but they are worried about others’ opinions and are afraid to ask where to get help. Many even fear the negative responses from their physicians, so they don’t even want to talk with their doctor.

When Should I Talk to My Doctor?

Even though you might be concerned about your doctor’s response, you should talk to your doctor about your addiction to drugs like tramadol as soon as you realize that you have a problem. You will likely notice some warning signs that addiction is developing. Signs that you may be struggling with an addiction include the following:

  • Taking more of the drug like tramadol than prescribed
  • Taking the drug more often than prescribed
  • Using drugs to numb emotional pain or to feel better
  • Continuing to use drugs despite the negative consequences
  • Changes in personal relationships such as spending more time alone to take drugs
  • Obtaining a prescription from several doctors
  • “Losing” a prescription and asking your doctor to write another one

These are just a few of the symptoms that will indicate that addiction is developing. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor immediately.

Why Is Early Intervention Important?

Talking to your doctor early in addiction development is important. The earlier you begin fighting an addiction, the sooner you can overcome that addiction.

Other benefitsf talking to your doctor as soon as you see an addiction developing include the following:

  • Easier detox than with a long-term addiction
  • Less time need for rehab versus a long-term addiction
  • Less money wasted on drugs, legal fees and other financial problems caused by addiction
  • Fewer negative effects on family and/or loved ones
  • Sooner resolution to issues that may have led to addiction

You gain nothing by keeping your addiction a secret from your doctor. Only when you admit the truth and take responsibility for your past and your future can you reap the rewards of a drug-free life.

What Will My Doctor Do or Say?

Most doctors today take a clinical, non-judgmental view of addiction. They agree with the NIDA, which defines addiction as a chronic brain disease characterized by compulsively seeking and using drugs despite the harmful and negative consequences that using drugs causes. It is a disease and not just a lack of self-control. Addiction is considered a disease because drugs change the brain’s structure and chemistry. Most physicians treat addiction like any other chronic disease like diabetes or a heart condition that can be treated and managed. They understand that this disease requires treatment and is not a weakness to be overcome by sheer willpower alone.

When you visit with your doctor, simply lay out the facts. Tell him or her how much of the drug like tramadol you are using on a daily basis and the effects it has on you. Don’t cover up the facts to make you look or feel better. Once your doctor has all of the facts, he or she can help you determine the next step. Other ways your physician assist you include the following:

  • Help you understand the biology of addiction
  • Help you understand the physical damage drugs do to your body
  • Help you determine the best type and location of treatment
  • Offer alternative, non-habit-forming medications if necessary

Keep in mind that what you say to your doctor remains strictly confidential. What you tell him or her cannot be shared with anyone without your written consent. Friends, family and even employers will not be informed of the situation unless you choose to let them know.

While most physicians will treat you with dignity and respect, a few might not. If you sense that you are being treated poorly or that privacy has been breeched, please don’t give up on addiction recovery. Find another doctor who will work with you to help you get the treatment you need even if that means traveling to another town or another group of physicians. In addition you can make a formal complaint against any doctor who is behaving unethically or disrespectfully.

Getting Help For Your Addiction

If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs like tramadol, we can help. You can call our toll-free helpline any time, 24 hours a day. You can talk with one of our admissions counselors, and together you can determine the best treatment options for your unique situation. Talking with a doctor is a monumental step. Talking with us is another step, so call us today.

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