The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that chronic pain affects more than 116 million people in the U.S. At least 80 percent of those with chronic pain also struggle with drug addiction from the overuse of prescription painkillers. It may seems that chronic pain and prescription drug abuse go hand in hand, but it does not have to be that way.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is discomfort that continues longer than the time it takes to heal from an injury. The pain may be constant or frequent and may last several months or longer. Most doctors agree that opiate painkillers should be the last option for pain management; however it is more often the first method used by many and it is the stepping stone to long-term drug abuse dependency and addiction.
Are Prescription Painkillers the Problem or the Remedy?
OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and Codeine are all prescription opioids and they are the drugs most prescribed for chronic pain management. Opioids are effective at relieving pain because they block the opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and brain and stimulate the neurotransmitter dopamine which allows the body to experience euphoria instead of pain. Long-term use of prescription painkillers may lead to tolerance and dependency. Tolerance occurs as the body becomes used to the painkillers and as a result will require more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Dependency occurs when the individual cannot stop the medication on their own or they cannot get through the day or function without taking the drug. Many suffering from chronic pain self-medicate by increasing their medication or taking other pain medication and/or alcohol, in addition to their prescription. Self medicating is dangerous and can result in drug overdose.
Pain Management Clinics
Chronic pain suffers may seek assistance from a pain management clinic to help them address their pain without the use of prescription painkillers. Pain management clinics are similar to holistic clinics which use acupuncture, yoga, and meditation as a way to alternatively treat chronic pain. In patients that have developed dependency and/or addiction to prescription painkillers, the pain management clinic will detox the patient using a weaning or tapering method. While the patient is going through the detox process the pain management clinic will look for an alternative method for pain management that does not include narcotics.
Inpatient Medical Detox Treatment
The best way to overcome prescription painkiller abuse or addiction is with the help of an inpatient medical detox treatment. Inpatient medical detox generally lasts from seven to ten days during which the patient will receive medication to relieve (or eliminate) withdrawal symptoms. Patients who are comfortable throughout the detox are more likely to successfully complete the process and less likely to relapse later. Once the medical detox treatment is complete, entering a rehab program that specializes in finding alternatives for chronic pain management will increase the chance long-term recovery success. Are you struggling with chronic pain and drug addiction and in need of medical detox? Gallus Detox Center can help you overcome prescription painkiller abuse. Call us today at 855-338-6929.