After completing a programme of rehabilitation, you may have vowed never to touch alcohol or drugs again. You may be ready to live the remainder of your days chemical-free so that you can enjoy your second chance at life. This is the right attitude to have when it comes to long-term recovery success, but the truth is that it may not be possible to avoid mood-altering chemicals forever. Despite there being obvious risks to your sobriety, there could be times when it is necessary for you to take chemical substances.

Serious illnesses, accidents, or surgery might require strong medication to be administered, and you may be concerned about this. In terms of planned surgery, it might be possible to find out what medication you may be given. Speak to the surgeon about your recovery and ask about the safest medications for you and your situation. It may be necessary for you to be given medication and, if this is the case, you need to be prepared so that you can avoid a relapse.

Staying Safe During Medical Care

In many instances, it is better to get local rather than general anaesthetics, but this may not be possible, depending on the type of surgery you are having. Consider drug-free options such as acupuncture or hypnotherapy if they are going to be feasible.

If you must be given medication, make sure it is a different class of drug to that which you were addicted to. Speak to the doctor or anaesthesiologist to ensure that you are not given a drug that could be disastrous to your recovery.

For aftercare and pain relief, ask for a non-mood-altering drug instead of one that will affect your mood. There are plenty available, including ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Make sure that your doctor understands that you do not want sleeping pills or sedatives and that your notes reflect this so that all staff are aware of the danger. Ask that you can be drug-free for at least forty-eight hours before you are released from the hospital.

Dental Care

Another situation where you may be prescribed medication is during dental work. Dental care may now be firmly back on the agenda after years of neglecting your teeth while you were addicted. However, it is vital that you make your dentist aware of your history so that you are not given any medication that could affect your sobriety.

Dentists can administer strong medication to patients if they deem it necessary, but unless your dentist knows about your situation, he or she will not know what you can and cannot have. You will also need to make sure that any mouthwash used does not contain alcohol. If it does, ask for plain water instead.

Ask your dentist to use only local anaesthetic to numb the area when you are getting routine dental treatment. Hypnosis and acupuncture are also great for those getting dental work done.

Make sure your dentist knows that you cannot take drugs such as diazepam, tramadol or codeine for pain relief after dental treatment. Ibuprofen is a preferable pain reliever for those in recovery. You could also try non-drug treatments for pain relief after dental treatment, such as an ice pack on the affected area.

For dental surgery, it may be necessary for you to have anaesthetic; if this is the case, speak to the dental surgeon or anaesthesiologist to ensure that they are aware of your situation and that appropriate medication is administered.

Your recovery is your responsibility, so it is up to you to make sure that medical professionals are aware of your situation so that you can minimise the risk to your sobriety.

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