Addictions can sneak up on you. I embraced my alcoholism with open arms, but became addicted to prescription drugs without realizing it, and entirely because of ignorance on my part and the part of my (then) doctors. As an example, it took 5 days to detox me from alcohol, and nearly three weeks to do so from benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.). I’d been taking them for years, and rarely if ever took even the prescribed amount. I had no idea that I was in danger of addiction, or that I was addicted. Surprise!
This sort of thing happens to a lot of good people who are just seeking relief in the manner recommended by their physicians. It’s an excellent reason for NEVER doing something or taking a medication just because one doctor says to do it. Sites like Drugs.com, Clevelandclinic.org, Mayo.com and various government sites — SAMHSA.gov is a good place to start — have clearly presented, easy to understand information about drugs, drug interactions, and potential for addiction.
And remember: when it comes to prescription drugs, your pharmacist (not your doctor) is your best friend. Doctors are scientists who specialize in the various functions and malfunctions of the human body. Very few are experts in neuropsychopharmacology. In addition, very few are trained in, or really understand, addiction. In this, as in all health issues, you have to study and be your own advocate.
This article from the BBC is a good example of the ways bad things happen to good people.
“The whole stigma attached to substance misuse still exists and that is a key element in people remaining silent regarding their addictions.
“For all the positive work we see on high-profile TV campaigns about removing the stigma of alcohol and substance addiction, we have many people coming in to FASA who don’t want to tell anyone about their addiction.”