Pain Medication Addiction : 5 Facts You Need to Know
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that the U.S. is currently in the grips of an opioid addiction epidemic. What you might not realize is that prescription opioids account for nearly half of the nearly 45,000 opioid overdoses that occur each year. And about 90% of opioid addicts say that prescription drugs—not heroin, not another illegal drug—were their gateway to drug addiction. Heroin is now less expensive than many prescription opioids, and the results are predictable: people addicted to pain pills who can no longer get the drugs transition to heroin.
It’s an epidemic that has shown no signs of slowing. But it has a cause—chronic pain. Without addressing the challenges of living with and treating chronic pain, the opioid epidemic will continue to get worse. Here are five facts you need to know.
Chronic Pain is a Complex Medical Issue
Chronic pain is common, affecting at least 1 in 3 Americans. Many people with chronic pain struggle for years. Some are told that they need surgery that doesn’t work. Others hear that it’s all in their head. Some try dozens of remedies. Others are afraid that nothing will work, and so they try nothing at all.
Chronic pain is complex, and demands comprehensive treatment. It’s usually due to multiple factors, including:
• A sedentary lifestyle and muscle weakness. Leading an inactive life can cause pain by itself. And in people with injuries or illnesses, a sedentary lifestyle makes the pain even worse.
• Psychological factors. Some people unconsciously tense up in response to psychological pain. Psychological distress can also cause chronic inflammation. And in many people, the way the mind responds to the pain makes it feel worse.
• Injuries and chronic illnesses.
• Drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can damage the nerves, making them more sensitive and changing the way they respond to pain.
Opioids don’t address any of these challenges. That’s why people who start using opioids to treat chronic pain often end up using them for years, to the point of addiction.
Opioids Are Not Effective Long-Term Treatment for Chronic Pain
Tragically, opioids can worsen the conditions they are designed to treat. Research suggests that opioids can make the body more sensitive to pain, making the pain worse over time.
Addiction also depletes a chemical called NAD. Vital for cellular reactions, when this chemical is low, the body can’t function optimally. This can cause pain, depression, and misery. This, of course, encourages opioid addicts to continue using opioids—even though they don’t work, and even though they may actually be making the pain worse.
Treating Opioid Addiction Requires Managing Its Cause
Too many addiction treatment programs treat opioid addiction as mere substance abuse. It’s not. Opioid addiction is always due to pain—psychological, physical, and often both. To treat opioid addiction, it is critically important to treat the underlying pain condition. Otherwise the opioid addict will soon find themselves suffering immense pain, and blaming it on the withdrawal of opioids. That’s a recipe for going back to drugs. Opioid addicts in recovery deserve better than this.
Chronic Pain is Manageable
Chronic pain is often curable. Even when it’s not, it’s manageable. At Future Now Detox, the process begins with NAD/Brain Restoration+ to restore the brain to healthy NAD levels. From there, we work with you to understand your pain and to find ways to help you manage it. That might include therapy to help you cope with stress, exercise to strengthen your muscles, and medical treatment for any underlying health problems. You can recover from this. You just need someone to listen to you and take your pain seriously. That’s what we do. There is hope. Don’t give up.
You Can Recover
The tragedy of addiction is that addicts are deeply compassionate and sensitive people. Yet the media portrays them as nothing but monsters. Addiction pits addicts’ compassion and sensitivity against them, making them obsessed with drugs and turning drugs into the only strategy they can muster to deal with the challenges of daily life.
Addiction thrives on lies. Its most painful lie is the lie that you can’t recover—or that sobriety will have to mean a lifetime of misery. You can feel good again. You can feel better than ever. Let us help you chart a course from suffering to sobriety. Life doesn’t have to be so hard. Call us today!