Your doctor may prescribe you a powerful painkiller to help you recover from a recent injury or medical procedure. You know when and how to take your medication, but do you know how to keep from becoming dependent on the medication? You do not want an attempt to improve your health to turn into a potential drug crime charge.

American Addiction Centers offers guidance on how to avoid painkiller addiction. As you either start or continue taking prescribed painkillers, take measures to protect your health.

Take the painkillers

You cannot develop an addiction if you never take the painkillers, right? If you put off taking your medication until the pain becomes unbearable, you may take more than you should because you want rapid relief. Your concerns are valid, but you do not want to inadvertently hurt yourself in an attempt to protect yourself.

Follow your doctor’s and pharmacist’s orders 

When prescribed a powerful painkiller with known addictive qualities, it is essential that you follow your pharmacist’s and/or doctor’s orders. Double-check your dosage, how many times a day you should take your medication, expected side effects, how to take the medication and how you should feel while on the medication. If anything feels off about the side effects or effects of the painkiller, let your doctor or pharmacist know immediately.

Recognize the symptoms of painkiller addiction

While speaking with your doctor or pharmacist about your prescription, ask them what signs of addiction you should know. Common addiction indicators include taking another’s painkiller medication, running out of medication ahead of your refill schedule and going to more than one physician to obtain painkillers.

Addiction may turn you into a person you do not recognize, engaging in illegal acts that could put you on the wrong side of the law. Understand the benefits and the risks of taking powerful painkillers.