Concerns about addiction

Physical dependence

Psychological dependence


Psychological dependence

Addiction or psychological dependence is an abnormal behavioral condition. A person who is addicted to a medication:

uses the drug compulsivelyconstantly craves the medicationuses it to "get high" (change their mood) rather than for pain relief

Addiction is NOT defined as a need for more pain reliever to bring effective pain relief (tolerance) or by withdrawal symptoms occurring if a person stops taking the medication suddenly (physical dependence).

Medical evidence shows that addiction is extremely rare in people with cancer who are prescribed narcotics (opioids) for pain relief. Despite this evidence, fears about addiction persist among people with cancer, their families, and even their health care providers.

But using these medicines for pain relief as prescribed and with proper supervision will not cause addiction.

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