There are many reasons why a person might begin abusing alcohol or drugs. Many individuals begin their recreational substance abuse due to using alcohol or drugs to cope with pain, whether emotional or physical. In terms of the latter, it’s actual the treatment of physical pain with highly addictive opiate painkillers that caused such an enormous spike in painkiller addiction in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s.
This is also thought to be why there is such a high rate of addicts suffering from conditions involving chronic pain. Many painkiller addicts began misusing the painkillers they were prescribed for conditions involving chronic pain in the hope that taking more of the medication would make the drug more effective. However, taking higher-than-advised doses actually renders a painkiller therapeutically ineffective as the escalation of one’s painkiller dosage eventually leads to an addiction.
Although the treatment options for individuals addicted to painkillers are numerous and varied, this inevitably means that there are going to be recovering painkiller addicts who suffer from conditions involving chronic pain, but due to their previous history with misusing and abusing their painkillers and medications, they will be unlikely to receive painkiller prescriptions and be strongly discouraged from taking any type of addictive substances to treat their pain.
The primary problem that this situation poses could be expressed as such: How do you treat a recovering addict’s chronic pain when it returns during the recovery process?
Learning to Manage Chronic Pain without Painkillers
When a recovering addict is confronted with chronic pain, they are first guided through various methods of managing that pain without the use of painkillers. While there will inevitably be some individuals who have no choice but to use painkillers, it’s difficult to determine with confidence whether an individual is one who truly needs the medication or is merely wanting to continue taking it so they can abuse it.
Although overcoming chronic pain without pain medication may sound unlikely, there are actually a variety of ways to manage pain without resorting to painkillers and other medications, often depending on the location of and type of pain. The philosophy of pain management is to alleviate or reduce a client’s pain as much as possible without compromising an individual’s safety. In the case of a client having a history of addiction, the goal would be to alleviate or reduce pain as much as possible without the individual becoming dependent again.
A common means of treating pain without the use of addictive medications is through implementing certain physical activities. Stretching and daily exercise has proven to help with various types of muscular and skeletal pain. One’s diet can have an effect on many different afflictions involving chronic pain.
Additionally, a number of individuals experience chronic pain due to a physiological cause. In such cases, the use of counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy, perhaps with an antidepressant, can also result in a significant improvement of symptoms.
Possible Solution in Maintenance and Replacement Drugs?
Another possible way of managing a recovering addict’s chronic pain is to put the individual on methadone or Suboxone maintenance. Methadone maintenance is a controversial form of treatment in that it aims to reduce the amount of harm an addiction causes rather than to free an addict from dependency.
Being a synthetic opioid, methadone would provide a level of pain relief to users who experience chronic pain while also creating a “narcotic blockade” effect, which means that individuals who are taking methadone at a relatively high dose will be unable to experience euphoria by abusing other opioids.
Alternately, Suboxone is another maintenance drug that’s both a synthetic opioid and an opioid antagonist, which means that it binds to the brain’s pain receptors and reduces pain while also blocking the effects of other opioids and preventing opioid overdose.
Call Drug Treatment Center Finder Today to Explore Your Options
There are many treatment options for those in need. If you or someone you love would like a free consultation and assessment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder at 855-619-8070. We have a staff of caring, experienced recovery specialists available day and night, ready to help any addict find the programming that will best address their needs. Don’t wait. Call us today and begin the journey to a life of lasting health and fulfillment.