Pain becomes chronic when it lasts for more than three months, and most people will deal with some type of long-term pain at some point in their lives. Headaches, back problems, and arthritis are just a few common conditions that can cause chronic pain.
While modern medicine has come a long way toward opening up options for treating chronic pain, physicians still tend to prescribe potentially addictive painkillers to patients who don’t respond to over-the-counter options.
Watching as you or a loved one struggles with chronic pain and addiction is challenging. On one hand, it is important to find relief from the pain, yet developing an addiction can complicate the very same health issues that you are trying to treat. Fortunately, there is hope for finding effective pain management strategies that allow you to finally be set free from the chains of addiction.
What is the Connection Between Chronic Pain and Addiction?
The first thing that is important to understand is that no one sets out to become addicted to painkillers. Most prescription painkillers are opioids that bind to the same parts of the brain as other forms of drugs such as heroin. Since the medications bind to the brain, the body typically develops a dependency. It is also common for a person’s body to become tolerant to the drugs. Once this happens, they need more of the medication to feel the same pain-relieving effects. This is often when people begin to misuse the medications by taking more than is prescribed.
What Are the Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction?
This type of addiction typically begins slowly, which makes it hard to identify until the problem has reached serious proportions. At first, your loved one may only take an extra pill every now and then, or they may get upset if they cannot get their prescription refilled in time. You may notice that they sleep more than usual or that they seem groggy and confused when they are awake. People who are misusing their pills will run out of them before it is time for a refill. In the more advanced stages of addiction, your loved one may even attempt to see multiple doctors to get more than one prescription, or they may resort to buying their pills on the street.
Untreated prescription drug addiction can eventually lead to consequences such as jail time if your loved one is caught with medications that are not legally prescribed to them. They can also damage their health since many prescription medications are toxic to the liver if they are taken in larger quantities than prescribed. Trying to obtain more pills to feed their addiction can also strain your loved one’s finances.
What Types of Treatment Options Are Available?
There are several different treatment options that are used to help people dealing with chronic pain and addiction. For some people, it is necessary to go to a residential drug treatment program that offers detox services. For others, an outpatient program works well for helping them to learn to cope with their addiction while still maintaining their job or caring for a family. If you are not sure which type of treatment program is best for your situation, then a clinical assessment can help you determine how to get help right away.
Is Pain Management Possible Without Prescription Pills?
Pain management for recovering addicts will look different compared to their former treatment plan. However, it is possible to find relief from pain using non-addictive methods. Working with an addiction treatment specialist is the best way to find safe and effective pain relief strategies that can help you end your addiction.
What Options Are Used for Pain Management for Recovering Addicts?
You can begin to explore new options for treating pain even while you are detoxing from the addictive painkillers. For some people, switching to non-addictive options helps with pain. Non-addictive pain pills may be available either through a prescription or over-the-counter. Keep in mind, however, that it is important to work with a professional addiction counselor before trying these solutions since some can still have addictive qualities.
Meditation, massages, and nutritional support are additional ways to treat pain without using medication. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as strengthening your muscles can help to alleviate pain. Most drug treatment programs incorporate natural pain relief methods into their treatment plans to help you find what works best for you.
How Can You Help a Loved One Who is Addicted to Painkillers?
When you notice the signs of painkiller addiction in your loved one, it is important to take action before they suffer more serious consequences. Most families start with an intervention that calls attention to the problem. Intervention specialists can help you open up a conversation with your loved one about their addiction and provide them with a resource to seek treatment.
Are you or a loved one struggling with an addiction to painkillers? Call us today at Music City Interventions. We’ve got resources such as intervention specialists and clinical assessments that can help you find the appropriate treatment.