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Rehab with Pain Management

Chronic pain from an injury, accident or illness is a common cause of prescription drug dependence. But eliminating pain medication altogether is rarely the answer — chronic pain almost always requires some form of pharmacotherapy. Compassionate addiction treatment for the pained patient offers an integrated approach that includes pharmacotherapy, physical therapy, individual counseling and group support. If you’re struggling to live with chronic pain while you cope with the challenges of addiction, drug rehab with pain management may be the solution you’re looking for.

People who suffer from drug addiction and chronic pain tend to receive inadequate pain control compared to non-addicted patients, according to the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. For legal and medical reasons, doctors may be hesitant to provide habit-forming pain medications like Percocet, Vicodin or Dilaudid to patients who have a recent or past history of addiction. But when pain is severe, concerns about addiction have to be balanced with finding the right level of pain relief. Drug rehabilitation for chronic pain patients focuses on treating your substance abuse and maximizing your physical function without compromising pain control.

How Pain Control Becomes Addiction

Living with constant pain can have a crippling effect on your life — physically, emotionally and socially. After a car accident, sports injury or a prolonged illness, you may have trouble finding stable employment, maintaining relationships or even performing daily activities because of your pain. The end results of under-treated pain may include isolation, depression, substance abuse and even suicide.

Getting the right level of treatment for pain isn’t as easy as it might seem. The American Academy of Pain Management calls pain a “silent epidemic,” noting that at least 50 million people in the United States live with chronic pain on a daily basis, while another 25 million suffer from short-term pain caused by an accident, operation or illness. In the year 2000 alone, over 80 million people reported that pain limited their participation in work, social events or other activities. Many of these people believe that pain is an inevitable part of aging, or that pain should be intolerable before they seek treatment.

Pain control often turns into addiction when the patient begins to self-medicate in an effort to get sufficient relief. Prescription opioids may be combined with alcohol and street drugs like marijuana or heroin. If you aren’t receiving the care you need to perform daily activities like grooming, dressing, getting to work, holding a job and raising a family, turning to substance abuse may seem like the only alternative.

Pain Medication Alternatives

For many chronic pain patients, strong prescription pain medications provide the relief they need to function in their day-to-day lives. But opioid pain medications can be habit-forming, and they aren’t necessarily the only solution. In drug rehabilitation with pain management, you’ll receive an evaluation of your pain, combined with counseling about your alternatives.

*What Are the Alternatives to Opioids?

According to the Partnership at Drugfree.org, physicians should consider the following non-addictive treatment options for chronic pain patients who have a history of opioid dependence:

  • Non-opioid pain medications, such as medications used to prevent seizures or relieve depression
  • Opioid replacement drugs that reproduce the effects of opioids at a lower level, like methadone or buprenorphine
  • Psychological counseling and behavioral modification to address the causes of addiction and educate the patient in healthy coping strategies
  • Opioid therapy in conjunction with a pain control contract that requires the patient to commit to certain conditions, like drug screening

Complementary treatments like massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and herbal therapy may be combined with pain medication to control your need for pharmaceuticals. Physical therapy can help patients who’ve been injured regain their maximum physical function. A knowledgeable therapist can provide instruction on how to optimize your activities in order to avoid pain.

Although psychotherapy and self-help groups can’t alleviate the physical sources of pain, these strategies can help you identify negative behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to addiction. Addicts often get trapped in destructive self-talk, repeating messages like, “I’ll never get the help I need,” “No one cares about my pain,” or “I deserve to feel like this.” Modifying these internal messages can make a difference in the way you feel about yourself, your health and your future.

Abusing alcohol and drugs can take a huge toll on your health. Chronic pain patients who aren’t getting the help they need may neglect their nutrition, stop attempting to exercise, and ignore the benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements. Drug rehab with pain management focuses on regaining your physical health as you address the sources of pain and look for productive solutions.

Knowing When to Seek Help

Living with pain can make it difficult to know when to seek help for substance abuse or dependence. If you’re trying to control your pain, drug-seeking behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re an addict. It could mean that your symptoms are under-treated, and that you need a complete medical evaluation from a doctor who specializes in pain management. You may need drug or alcohol rehab as well as pain management if you:

  • Have come to rely on a combination of prescription pain medication, alcohol and illicit drugs just to be comfortable
  • Can’t cut back on your drug or alcohol use, even though you desperately want to
  • Suffer from depression, anger or mood swings as a result of your drug or alcohol use
  • Seek pain medication from friends, buy opioid medications on the street, or try to see multiple doctors in order to get more medication
  • Sell prescription drugs or illicit drugs in order to get money to support your habit
  • Have legal problems, relationship problems or employment problems because of your substance use

If you have questions about pain management and substance abuse, or you need a list of addiction treatment resources in your community, we can help. Calling our toll-free number will put you in touch with addiction specialists who can help you get the multi-disciplinary care you need to overcome addiction while achieving your optimal level of health.