Chronic pain is devastating for an individual and completely debilitating for family and friends. You always want your loved one to be as happy and healthy as possible. This is where pain management plays a vital role in the painful recovery process. At first, the medicine is helping tremendously, then you notice that you are starting to need more medicine than before to alleviate the pain. Thus, the pain management and addiction cycle begin.
There is a big concern right now surrounding pain management and addiction. Most doctors are apprehensive about the administration of pain medications due to the possibility of dependence occurring. Physicians who specialize in pain management are the best source for those who are suffering from acute pain. The most harmful approach to pain monitoring is to self-medicate, which can potentially lead to a life of addiction.
Does Pain Management Lead to Addiction?
The unfortunate truth is that dependence is a known side effect from taking too much pain medication. The good thing is that dependence and addiction are two separate entities. Even when a patient takes the proper amount of the medication prescribed, they will still develop a physical dependence. This will require proper intervention to control the pain. But sometimes a patient actually becomes dependent on the feelings of euphoria that opiates produce, leading to addiction. This is when it becomes tricky for the physician and extremely bad for the patient.
It is extremely important for families and friends to understand the difference between addiction and dependency. Any kind of misinterpretation can lead to a misdiagnosis or a possible discontinuance of the pain medicine altogether. If the patient is truly in pain, then abruptly stopping the medicine will be almost as detrimental as the initial onset of pain that caused the dependence.
So What is the Answer for Pain Management and Addiction?
It is important for physicians to carefully administer opiate pain medicine, especially with patients that have a known history of substance abuse issues. While it is not healthy to deal with pain without any kind of therapy or relief, it is also not healthy to abuse the medicine meant to help alleviate the pain. The best possible solution is to find a way to manage pain without the use of opiates and other mind-numbing pain medications. Sadly, this is not effective.
Let your physician know of any personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction. This information is important to prescribe the medicines that will work best for you. Even if you are unsure or afraid, it should not stop you from using the best possible solution to effectively relieve your pain.
It is more than common for people to develop a dependence on their pain medication and to need higher and higher doses to maintain the same level of relief. You may think that you are becoming addicted to the medicine and try to discontinue or stop the medicine abruptly; don’t do this. This is and has always been completely normal and is not a sign of addiction. If you believe that dependence or pain management and addiction is becoming a problem, then don’t be afraid to speak up before it is too late.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Successful Pain Management for the Recovering Addicted Patient