If you consult multiple doctors with the express purpose of obtaining specific prescriptions, you're engaging in a practice known as "doctor shopping". This is such a widespread problem that states have passed laws, registries have been created, insurance companies have tightened their policies, and medical boards have changed their standards — all to make doctor shopping easier to detect and harder to practice. However, engaging in doctor shopping doesn't mean that you're a "drug addict".
In fact, at Saint Jude Retreats, we don't believe that anyone should use the loaded label of drug "addiction" to define themselves. It's difficult to analyze your own behaviors objectively and accurately, but if you're concerned about your relationship with pharmaceuticals, you can start by acknowledging and understanding your motives. If you "doctor shop" for any of the following reasons, you may be choosing prescriptions over more productive solutions, and it may be time to look into prescription drug rehab.
Escaping or recreational use is often associated with addiction, but we see it as a coping mechanism you've employed. Instead of learning how to deal with your boredom, sadness, anxiety or other emotions, you've chosen a short-term fix for boredom so you are visiting different doctors to keep your drug in stock and keep the party going.
This process of getting drugs takes time and effort, so even if the intoxicating effects seem like the "easy way out", you're actually creating extra work for yourself. Instead of fixating on drugs that relieve your symptoms, it's probably time to evaluate different options for dealing with your discomfort. Once you do that, you'll be able to find easier, cheaper, and more effective ways to lessen boredom or stress without sacrificing your sobriety.
If you're a student or you have a demanding job, stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin might make it seem easier for you to focus, meet deadlines, and stay awake. You don't use them recreationally, but you also don't have an attention or anxiety disorder that may create a legitimate medical need, so you lie to doctors in order to obtain them.
These behaviors don't mean you're addicted to drugs. However, you've allowed yourself to depend on their effects, and, as a result, you probably don't realize that you're capable of doing your best work without them. Procrastination and poor decisions leading to fatigue are common motivators to use to enhance your productivity. You don't need a chemical shortcut to "fix" yourself; you just need to rethink your everyday routine and give yourself more time to sleep, study, and think.
Do you have a physiological or psychiatric disorder and you know, from previous experiences, that a certain medication is very effective in treating it? Some prescription medications, such as painkillers and stimulants, are so popular among drug dealers and recreational users that doctors are hesitant to prescribe them, especially to new patients. Even with a legitimate need, you might overuse the drug to enhance its effects.
Whether you had a prescription a long time ago or discovered its benefits through recreational use, we understand why you're frustrated. Still, it's better to explore your options and get your needs met without overusing. You may even find that while you used this drug legitimately in the past, you don't need to now and can find more productive options for the same or better effects. See one doctor on a long-term basis, be up front about your previous experiences, and work together to determine a solution that works for you.
If you would like to stop doctor shopping and find ways to be productive without needing a prescription, call one of our Guest Service Consultants today.