30 Nov Could Back Pain be Making You More Susceptible to Opioid Abuse?
You hear the words pain and opioid in the same sentence and your immediate thought is, so what? Isn’t that the medication they use to aide patients suffering from extreme back pain anyways? Well, a study published by Anesthesiology, the official journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, showed that 75% of patients who became addicted to their medication, also suffered from psychiatric illnesses such as depression and anxiety. There have been numerous cases of fatal overdose due to opioid addiction. In 2008, 15,000 Americans died due to opioid overdose according to CDC. This alarming trend forced the CDC to declare opioid addiction an epidemic.
There are multiple prescription and non-prescription medications available to relieve chronic pain. Acute or chronic lower back pain can lead to difficulty in sleeping and can invoke anxiety and depression, which can worsen a painful back condition. Painkillers such as Norco, Vicodin, Hydrocodone, etc. are prescribed by physicians to relieve pain. However, they have a huge impact on brain chemistry, which is not controllable. Most of the people who take opioids for back pain for more than 2-4 weeks develop tolerance to the medication. Tolerance to the medication is when a patient may have to increase the dose to have the same effect and they may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the painkillers.
Pain Killers may Actually Increase Pain
Opioids are one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Many people don’t know that consuming painkillers over an extended period of time increases a patient’s sensitivity to pain i.e., hyperalgesia. Using opiate drugs decreases the ability to bear pain. When pain increases, people believe that they need to increase the dose of medication. For those whom are addicted to narcotics, they may need a detoxification program or a sober living program.
Risk of Uncontrolled Pain
Some people may avoid medicines, as they fear addiction. Inadequate treatment of pain can result in poor functioning of the body. The patient can often experience mood swings, and depression so it is essential that these types of pain be cured properly.
The following six steps can help ensure that you are using pain killers properly:
1. Weigh your risk factors: Before your doctor prescribes you opioids for chronic pain, make sure to discuss possible addictions with your doctor.
- Family history of addiction
- Drug Addiction, Alcohol addiction or Nicotine addiction
- Addiction to any illicit drug.
- Any kind of mood disorders
2. Check for other options: People having higher risk of addiction may choose other pain control techniques including
- Physical therapy
- Approaches such as tai chi and acupuncture
- Working with a psychiatrist to learn how to change pain related thoughts and behaviors.
- Watch For Signs of Trouble:
- You are not taking drugs as prescribed by your doctor.
- Your drug usage has made you neglect your work and children.
3. Ask for help: If you feel like you’re losing control over pain medications then consult a doctor immediately. You can also enroll in a Sober Living House if you feel you are unable to control your behavior. Constant monitoring during times of addiction struggle can be very helpful and beneficial in avoiding continued abuse.
Remember that back pain can make you susceptible to opioid addiction, but it is not your only course of action if you do suffer from this debilitating problem. If required, please visit a sober living House for long-term recovery after detoxification and treatment of opioid addiction. Remember that recovery isn’t just going through detox and getting clean, it means a permanent life without drugs and/or alcohol, so it is essential to seek extended care even after treatment.