Chronic Pain And Prescription Drugs

What you need to know about the rise of opioid addiction in the U.S.

Are you suffering from chronic pain? Like millions of Americans, have you been prescribed an opiate to help mitigate and manage pain? Maybe you’ve noticed that the dosage or strength of the drug is no longer working, and you need a higher dosage to experience the same relief. Perhaps you’ve tried to quit or at least cut back on the pain meds, but withdrawal symptoms make you feel sick. It might be that you’ve noticed a loved one taking more and more medication, which is impacting his or her overall wellbeing, and you’re concerned that prescription drug use has turned into drug abuse or addiction. Are you seeking information, resources and support to help you or a loved one mitigate pain and recover from prescription drug abuse or addiction?

Chronic Pain And Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug dependency and opioid addiction have been and continue to be a serious concern in our country. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse[JS1] , roughly 130 people in the U.S. alone die from an opioid overdose every single day. Much opiate addiction been attributed to the rise of people prescribed opioids, which has skyrocketed 300 percent in the last 10 years. There are many factors that can lead to opiate abuse and addiction, and one of them—which isn’t talked about often in public discourse—is chronic pain

More than one-third of the U.S. population suffers from some form of chronic pain. Every year millions of prescriptions are written for pain, many of them powerful opioids that can cause addiction and other serious side effects. In fact, studies show that 25 percent—that’s one in four people—of people prescribed an opiate will become psychologically and physiologically addicted to the drug.

Understanding Opioid Abuse And Addiction

Over time, a person’s body gets used to the pain medication and develops an increased tolerance to the drug. This increased tolerance means that more of the drug must be taken in order to get the desired effect.

Opiates also create an over sensitivity to pain, which creates its own pain cycle. Over time, people begin using the pain medication not only for the original pain, but also for the pain now created by the drug, essentially “chasing their own pain.”

Continued use creates dependency—both physiological and psychological. There is fear of the pain associated with withdrawal, which can be severe. Many people do try to come off the drug on their own, or at least cut back, but withdrawal symptoms make them feel so ill that they continue using to avoid the pain of withdrawal.

Opiates also effects the nucleus accumbens, the pleasure center of the brain associated with addiction. Essentially, many things that trigger this part of the brain can lead to addiction and the mental, emotional, physical, relational, social and financial consequences that come with it.

Kagey Family Counseling Can Help You Manage Chronic Pain And Prescription Drugs

There are many alternatives to opiates for pain management and effective ways to mitigate concerning use of pain medications. If you are concerned about yours or your loved ones use of painkillers, we can help. Opioid abuse and addiction are serious concerns that can lead to devastating consequences, and if a problem exists—or you think one might be developing— it’s important that you seek help. I invite you to call our Houston, TX office at 832-928-0211 to set up an initial appointment or a phone consultation. We offer alcohol counseling[JS2] , drug counseling [JS3] and various other forms of support and resources at our Houston location and confidential online counseling[JS4]  for people all over the United States.