Managing Chronic Illness in Recovery
Managing Chronic Illness in Recovery is possible…
Managing chronic illness in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Research indicates that people with a history of addiction are much less likely to receive adequate pain management as compared to those within the general population.
The topic of pain management for recovering addicts is often met with resistance from doctors and physicians, who may be reluctant to prescribe opiate painkiller medications. Yet there is sufficient evidence to show that short-term use of painkiller medications following a surgical procedure or for managing symptoms of chronic pain during a serious illness can be highly effective.
However, there are some recovering people who may be reluctant to accept opiate painkiller medications for fear of sinking back into a cycle of addictive substance use. A person who struggled to achieve and maintain sobriety in the first place may seek alternative treatments or medications that reduce the temptation to relapse back into self-destructive behaviors.
Natural Pain Management for Recovering Addicts
As recovering addicts are less likely to receive adequate pain medication to help them cope with symptoms of chronic pain, the alternative is to adopt natural practices that can help reduce the severity of pain.
Research shows that effective use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be beneficial for managing symptoms of chronic pain using natural means. Therapy assists the recovering person learn healthy ways to manage psychological responses to pain that reinforce their personal role within the health restoration process. There is also some evidence that acupuncture may provide a level of pain relief that can be useful for alleviating the severity of pain symptoms.
Managing Chronic Illness in Recovery with Exercise
It’s common for many people struggling with chronic pain to fear exercise, as they believe it could make symptoms worse. Depending on the nature of pain symptoms, some people may find that gentle forms of exercise that help strengthen core muscles can reduce inflammation that could be a cause of pain.
Other types of exercise, such as yoga help to promote relaxation and concentration, which can make it easier to manage pain on a psychological level. Gentle exercise is also beneficial for triggering a natural release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones.
Seeking the Right Assistance
In the event that a doctor or physician is reluctant to prescribe strong painkiller medications as a form of pain management for recovering addicts, an alternative option could be to discuss options with a specialized drug rehabilitation center.
Addiction specialists may be able to integrate cognitive behavioral therapies used in addiction treatment to also assist with managing chronic illness in recovery. Dealing with chronic pain and addiction treatment centers might seem counterintuitive at first, but treatment specialists may be able to suggest non-addictive alternatives that can help to relieve pain symptoms.
For example, steroid injections may help reduce inflammation in some people, which nerve-blockers can be effective for blocking localized pain. Use of non-addictive pain relievers, such as aspirin might provide some relief without the stress or temptation of taking opiate painkillers.
In the event that the chronic pain being treated does require a strong-acting opiate medication, such as pain following a surgical procedure, short-term use of strong painkillers may be necessary. A doctor may choose to administer morphine or pethidine under careful medical supervision at tapered doses to ensure pain is managed properly without undue risk to the recovering person’s voluntary sobriety.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.