Pain management becomes a necessity when you suffer from chronic pain. While acute pain results from recent trauma (such as injury or illness) and typically lasts for less than a month, chronic pain lasts much longer and may come and go. For example, chronic pain is associated with multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, nerve damage, migraines and other headaches. Since it is so difficult to deal with the psychological and physiological struggles associated with chronic pain, sufferers often begin to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Oftentimes, you cannot tell by looking at someone that they are in chronic pain; therefore, sufferers can face skeptical and unsympathetic responses that further encourage substance abuse in order to deal with the emotional fallout.
Pain management substances that are often abused
Most chronic pain sufferers who end up with addiction problems are abusing prescription painkillers. These drugs can be highly effective at reducing physical discomfort, and many also induce a pleasant feeling of euphoria or a calming sense of increase well-being. Common examples of addictive painkillers include the following:
However, some people also turn to alcohol in order to numb their pain, or combine painkillers with the substance.
The dangers of abusing pain management medication
Each prescription painkiller is associated with slightly different mental and physical side effects, but the most significant problem is that your body tends to build up a tolerance to these types of drugs very quickly. For instance, the first time that you take the prescribed amount of codeine then you may feel deeply relaxed and entirely pain-free. However, over time you will require higher and higher doses in order to experience the same benefits. At the same time, dependence develops, making it extremely difficult to stop taking the painkiller without experiencing even more profound discomfort than you used to feel before the drug was prescribed to you.
Taking higher than recommended doses of painkillers carries a significant risk of overdose, which is often fatal.
Signs of pain management abuse and addiction
If you are addicted to pain management medication, certain key signs are likely to manifest. Ask yourself the following questions, and try to be honest about your answers.
- Do you take pain management medication more frequently or at higher doses than your doctor has recommended?
- Have you ever tried and failed to stop taking higher than recommended doses of prescription painkillers?
- Have your friends or family expressed concern about your relationship with painkillers?
- Has your use of pain management medication led to diminished performance at work or school?
- Do you feel physically and psychologically unstable if you try to go for more than two days without taking painkillers?
- Does your use of pain management medication sometimes stop you from fulfilling certain important obligations to loved ones or coworkers?
- Do you mislead others about the extent of your pain management usage?
If you have answered “yes” to more than one of the above questions, it is highly likely that you have an unhealthy and potentially dangerous relationship with pain management medication.
Dealing with pain management and substance abuse at WhiteSands?
Prescription drugs can be highly addictive, and many people have found themselves struggling with substance dependence after surgery or a traumatic accident that has caused them chronic pain. This dependence can increase with time, causing a serious and life-altering addiction. Chronic pain and prescription medication addiction can be difficult to treat as both conditions are complex, but it can be done and it is necessary.
Chronic pain can also lead to symptoms of depression. When individuals come to the realization that their pain medications also alleviate these symptoms, they may start relying on the medication to also regulate their emotions. Using pain medication to self-medicate and repress feelings of depression, while treating chronic pain, inevitably leads to increased tolerance levels, dependence and addiction.
At White Sands Treatment Center, we understand that treating both the addiction and the chronic pain concurrently is crucial. Our pain management program offers an assessment in a supportive, nonjudgmental environment. Our psycho-educational support groups help our clients learn, understand, and apply skills to better manage pain, addiction, and emotional issues by:
- Understanding the chronic pain and how it relates to the addiction
- Learning about the source of the pain, its physical traits, and the aspect of pain management including level of activity and rest, amount of sleep and nutrition.
- Understanding the how stress and pain are related and how to treat them
- Identifying how thoughts and feelings relate to the pain and how to successfully manage and treat these issues.
- Analyzing and understanding how chronic pain and addiction impact personal relationships and how to better communicate with loved ones.
- Finding ways to deal with and manage relapses, setbacks and instances of chronic pain
When treating prescription drug addiction and chronic pain, choosing a facility like White Sands, which provides detox programs, can be crucial. As withdrawal from these medications can lead to uncomfortable or painful symptoms, it is important to have a safe and comfortable environment that is staffed with accredited physicians and nurses who can help to treat, address or alleviate any complications.
Our inpatient treatment programs can also be beneficial to anyone suffering from these dual disorders. Receiving treatment at White Sands will allow patients to have access to medical supervision, traditional and alternative treatment methods, relapse prevention training, and after care services.
White Sands Treatment Center is equipped to treat individuals who struggle with chronic pain and addiction. Our knowledgeable and qualified staff of doctors, nurses and psychologists, among others strives to provide and uphold an atmosphere that promotes healing. Patients will experience the encouragement, empathy, structure and support they will need to be successful in their recovery and overcome their substance dependence.
Get help now
Chronic pain can make you feel helpless, and painkiller addiction can destroy lives. If you are struggling with chronic pain and addiction at the same time, call us today at (877) 855-3470. We are available at any time of day to offer advice and support, and we are more than happy to answer any questions you have about our facilities and our customized rehabilitation programs. We look forward to helping you begin your journey towards a happier, healthier life.