Doctor shopping has become an all too common way that addicts use to score painkillers. Addicts will visit multiple doctors and hospitals to try to get multiple prescriptions. Today, however, doctors and hospitals are well aware that this practice is so common, especially when people present themselves with symptoms they can’t identify a cause for. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs can also alert doctors to people trying to get multiple prescriptions. One really desperate and sad way that addicts are using to circumvent this is to intentionally injure themselves in order to get painkillers.
This practice of self-harming to score painkillers is way more common than one might think. Some research estimates that two million Americans are practicing some kind of self-inflicted injury. Apparently, this has been going on for a long time.
There are a lot of ways that addicts harm themselves to score drugs. Some have beaten themselves with bats, broken their own fingers, reinjure old injuries, and even yank their teeth out. One infamous case of this involved a woman named Kari Richards, who was able to obtain 190 prescriptions from over 100 different hospitals by repeatedly dislocating her shoulder.
Doctors are now starting to look out for this and crack down on it, but it can be tough to fully address. It’s hard to tell how many addicts are successfully using this technique.
Misdiagnosing Self Harm
People who practice self-harm are frequently misunderstood and not handled properly. A lot of times, people who self-harm are thought to be suicidal, and that’s not always the case. Self-mutilation can be a call for help. In the case of addicts, they may not know any other way to deal with their pain than to do whatever they have to do get painkillers.
People who are suicidal think there is no end to their pain and suffering and that their situation is hopeless. People who self-harm are still looking to live to feed their addiction. Many get something out of the actual pain sensation itself. People who self-harm are in most cases not suicidal.
Friends and family members of addicts have to be aware of signs of drug abuse. This can be changes of behavior, work problems or job loss, things getting stolen, constantly asking for money, and a whole host of other warning signs. Most people would never think their loved one would go so far as to injure themselves to get drugs. However, if a person is all of a sudden getting repeated imagery, this might be exactly what is going on.
For anyone suffering from addiction, inpatient rehab is really the only viable option to have a chance to get clean and stay clean. This is especially true if a person is going to the extent of harming themselves to get drugs. This is a sign of an extreme addiction and potential mental illness. Someone like this will absolutely need the help of therapists and specialists, as well as potentially medical assistance. It’s important to remember that even in cases these severe, any addict is capable of getting clean with the help of an inpatient rehabilitation center, and a lot of time, work, and dedication.