Using Opiates to Cope with a Loved One’s Illness

Using Opiates to Cope with a Loved One's Illness

Using Opiates to Cope with a Loved One’s Illness

Using opiates to cope with difficult situations – like the illness of a loved one – may seem logical…even necessary. But, in most cases, opiate abuse ends up making a difficult situation even worse.

Opiate Abuse Offers Nothing but More Headaches

Opiates (or opioids) are highly habit forming. Even after just a few uses, dependence on the drug may develop. Opiates are widely prescribed by doctors to control pain after an accident, following surgery or for a chronic condition. Using opiates in one of these situations can be a valuable part of an overall treatment program. However, using opiates in higher dosages or for longer periods of time than prescribed constitutes drug abuse and can quickly lead to addiction.1

When someone is ill for a long period of time, family members or friends may have access to their loved one’s prescribed drugs. Whether or not a person has a history of using drugs, such exposure to available drugs may be tempting. Even if a person’s intentions are quite innocent, drug abuse can take control and create more pain and stress – probably even guilt and shame for having become addicted and now adding to everyone’s problems.

Opiate Abuse Only Adds to a Very Stressful Situation

Dealing with a loved one’s ongoing illness can be extremely stressful. Long-term illness can increase your risk of fatigue and depression. It may feel like your whole world is caving in on you. Taking just a bit of a loved one’s medication may seem necessary in order to help you cope. You may even rationalize that sneaking some drugs will help you do a better job of supporting your loved one. It’s so accessible and so easily excusable – an easy way to help you handle all that stress and extra work involved.

However, in the long-run, you would be much better served by finding healthy ways to deal with the stress of your loved one’s illness. Then you will be better equipped to keep the situation under control – not to mention keeping your mental health intact. Using drugs to relieve stress and to escape will only make the situation more complicated.

Dealing with an addiction while trying to care for a loved one is more wearing – not to mention more dangerous, for you and those around you. Under the influence of drugs, you will less likely be able to make sound decisions – for your loved one or even yourself. This ends up increasing the stress and anxiety in the person recovering from the illness and any others who are a part of the care-giving team.2

Find Help Immediately for Anyone Abusing Opiates

Using drugs to cope with the stress of a loved one’s illness puts both you and your loved one in a more hazardous situation. If you or a loved one struggles with opiate abuse, we are here to help – it’s what we do, and we do it very well. Our 24/7 toll-free line can put you in touch immediately with a trained staff member who can counsel and encourage you. Your questions will be answered, and you will know what your best options are. Find out more about opiates and opioids, addiction, and how to handle a difficult situation…prudently and successfully. More than ten independent studies say you can trust US.

1 Volkow, Nora D., M.D. and Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse”, NIDA, , (May 14, 2014).

2 “Understand the Impact of Trauma”, National Center for Biotechnology Information, .