RadioMD: HER Radio

Women & Opioid Addiction: One Doctor’s Personal Recovery Journey

November 3, 201630 min
Addiction to pain medication may be hard to recognize. Don't be ashamed to get help.Thousands of people have surgery and end up in a place they never imagined. Dr. Cheryl Karcher was a healthy person, leading an active lifestyle. She required three ACL replacements and total surgery replacement. She was prescribed percocet after each surgery for the pain. The drug also made her feel all was right in the world. She wanted to feel that way all the time. Dr. Karcher fought her opioid addiction and is now practicing medicine again. She was arrested for prescription fraud committed by a staff member two years after she had recovered from the addiction. She was clean and helping others recover. She believed in herself and had nothing to hide. Dr. Karcher was already in the public eye. She decided to use the opportunity to shed light on opioid addiction in order to help others. In vulnerable brains, this drug ignites the reward center. It builds a craving for the good feelings one gets from the medication. No one chooses to become an addict. Many people make it out to be a moral issue. Addiction isn’t a matter of self-control. If it could be tackled by the individual alone, then addiction wouldn’t be a problem. It’s important to get help. The sooner one gets help, the easier it is. There are plenty of excuses to not stop today. Enlisting help eases the struggle when you can’t stop by yourself. It’s tough to recognize your own addiction if your life doesn’t mirror the addict’s life in movies. Don’t be ashamed or feel guilty by asking for help. There is hope. Listen in as Dr. Karcher shares her incredible story of addiction and recovery.

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