A new report by the United States for Non-Dependence found that middle-aged and Generation X women are most at risk when it comes to opioid dependency.
In general, people undergoing surgery have the highest rates of opioid use because the drugs are often prescribed after surgeries to treat pain. But the women in this group are more likely to become dependent on opioids than the men.
Part of this is due to the fact that middle-aged women are prescribed opioids at a much higher rate than any other group. This puts them at a higher risk of dependency after their surgery and recovery.
Many women don’t even realize that they’ve become dependent on opioids. Because opioids trigger receptors that relieve pain, most women do not notice how the drugs are impacting their overall tolerance of pain.
Six months out from surgery, middle-aged women rely on opioids more than any other group. And those aged 45 to 54 have the highest rates of opioid-related death out of any other age group of women.
Outside of surgery, women in this age group are also likely to be prescribed opioids to fight chronic pain. As dosages increase over time to catch up to intolerance, women can become dependent.
For anyone undergoing surgery, medical professionals recommend working closely with your doctor to set up a schedule for how long you will use opioids. And, for chronic pain, it is suggested to first seek out alternative methods to medication, such as yoga or acupuncture.