Re: concerned about addictions!!!
First it's important to understand the difference between physical dependence and addiction.
Physical dependence is just a consequence of taking meds in specific classes that do cause dependence. Benzo's, opiates, Sleeping pills, anti depressants and even people that use Insulin will experience some pretty negitive side effects if they stop abruptly. Adiction is much much more, It's a combination of destructive behavior, attitude, and physical depndence despite the consequences.
So not everyone that's phsycially dependent is an addict, meaning they don't doctor shop, they don't run out of meds early, They don't get high from their meds and don't look to maintain that feeling with ever increasing doses. They don't asociate a warm fuzzy feeling with pain relief, they don't do thigs like drink or use street drugs or anything else to enhance the euphoric feeling. When meds are taken long term for Chronic pain, patients generally get nothing more than relief pain relief from pain meds, Addicts look for more than relief, the buzz, euphoria, they use the meds to treat problems like depression or to simply feel good past the point of simply managing their pain.
If someone has an addictive personality or history in their family, they can relapse or devolop some very nagitive habbits despite the cost and consequences. As far as physical dependence, everyone is different. Generally if somone takes pain meds around the clock for a month or so even following surgery, meds can simply be tapered off, stepped down in srength and quantity until the meds are no longer needed for pain, Ive had at east a dozen major urgeries where much stronger meds were used and never once experience withdrawal when the meds were discontued. However if your loking at managing pain that doesn't respond to any other type of therapy you could become physiocally dependet within a matter of weeks or months. It's different for everyone, so there isn't a clear cut answer other than their is a huge difference between dependence and addiction.
If someone stops anti depressants cold turkey, they will suffer some pretty nasty side effects, that doesn't mean they have become addicted, it's just the nature of that med, there is a right way and wrong way to discontinue certain meds. Same with opiates, The longer and more frequently you take them, the more likely you are to become dependent, but I've used Pain meds thelast 8 years to manage 3 failed fusions that left me bed wridden and I've never displayed any addictive benahavior, I;'ve never run out early, I;ve neever asked friends or family for their left overs, I don't doc shop,I don't drink or use other meds that aren't prescribed to enhance meds and my med use has not lead to any nagative consequences. So people can go years on meds without beoming adicted or they may like how they feel so much and the fear of 5 days of withdrawal becomes so strong that it may take a matter of days or weeks for someone to become addicted. If you don't have any other method to manage your pain, Like PT or excercises to strengthen and support your spine, relaxation techniques to learn to manage a flair without reaching for the bottle, or intervantional procedures like trigger point injections, Epidurals, Traction devices. Chiropractic, nerve blocks, med infusions, Acupunture, TENS, TINS etc etc are all also methods used to treat DDD which occurs in every person once they reach the age of about 30.
You do have choices, for the most part either a surgeon or PM doc will offer alterantive therpies and a multi facted aproach where anyone can write a script for narcotics, but even being satisfied with a temp leve lof pain isn't adressing how you going to manage this in the future.
Good luck, Dave