For a person who has recovered from a drug addiction or is in recovery, the thought of having surgery and needing pain medication can be terrifying. Many questions come to mind. Will this cause an immediate relapse? Do I have to take the painkillers? Will the anesthesia itself give me drug cravings? Some of the people we work with at our center for addiction treatment in Sacramento actually consider canceling their surgery, even when it’s critical that they have it. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the negative impact of having to take post-surgery medication.
The Dos and Don’ts of Surgery for People in Recovery
Before getting to what you should do when having surgery as a person who has recovered from a drug addiction or is in recovery, here are some things you should NOT do:
- Self-medicate. Trying to avoid using painkillers by substituting another substance (alcohol, for example) is ineffective and can set you up for a different, but nevertheless damaging, substance abuse pattern.
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