Chronic Pain and Addiction

One Man’s Pain, Another’s Profit

One of the most commonly abused substances in the country are prescription painkillers, coming in third behind alcohol and marijuana. Prescription painkillers are frequently members of the opioid family of drugs, meaning they are synthetic or semi-synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of opiates, which are derived from the seeds of poppy plants.

Of all prescription medications, painkillers are the most likely to cause an addiction problem because many of them are labeled to be taken as needed. Many drugs can be addictive when abused, but painkillers can form an addiction without the user intending to abuse them, catching them completely by surprise.

Tranquilizers, sedatives, and stimulants are often abused for the feelings the produce in the user, but painkillers are used to relieve pain, sometimes severe pain. Nobody likes being in pain, so sometimes a person may take more than the recommended dosage because they are still in pain. Over a long period of time, this can lead to dependency and addiction.

Without even knowing it, a person can become addicted to their prescription and require more, even after their prescription has run out. They may go to another doctor to get more, sometimes trying to score multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors. If a person is unable to get a prescription legally, they will often turn to illegal methods. If they cannot obtain their drug of choice, whether legally or illegally, they may turn to harder drugs, such as heroin, as a substitute.

It seems like such a stretch for somebody who’s never experienced addiction, but for a person going through withdrawals, they have no control over their cravings, as their brain chemistry has been altered to seek out the substance as a matter of survival. They will do whatever it takes to get their fix and they are helpless to resist on their own. Drug dealers know this and will take advantage of these everyday people every opportunity they get.

Can Prescription Addiction Be Treated?

Addiction is a progressive disease. This means that the longer it goes untreated, the worse it will get and it will not get better by itself, no matter how hard one wishes or hopes. As such, when an addiction

does take root, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. There is no cure for addiction, unfortunately, but it is a disease that can be managed.

Contrary to old beliefs, addiction is not the sole purview of the morally challenged or weak willed. It is, in fact, a very real, very serious disease that alters a person’s brain chemistry. Every substance has varying methods of doing so, but every one of them rewires the brain to perceive the chemical as necessary for survival.

It is a common misconception that an addict could quit if they really wanted to, but that’s just not the case. Most of the time, willpower alone just isn’t enough to overcome the basic survival instinct of the brain to seek out this substance. That’s why it’s important to get help.

How Do I Get Treatment?

When facing the struggles of addiction, anything outside getting the next fix feels like a near-impossible struggle. The cravings control every action a person takes and the withdrawals scare them away from any attempts or even thoughts about getting clean.

There is help, however, and any hope of defeating one’s addiction is going to need it. Not all substances require medically assisted detox, but for those that do, professionally trained medical supervision is highly recommended. Getting into a treatment facility and sticking with it, no matter how hard it may be, is the only way to truly put a stop to addiction and regain control of one’s life.

Rehab is never easy, nobody is saying it will be, but nothing worth doing ever is and there is nothing worth doing more than getting your life back. With professional help, you’ll be able to manage the discomfort of the withdrawal process, learn valuable skills and coping mechanisms to fend off temptation in the future, and live a long, healthy, happy life free of the chemical dependence that previously had a stranglehold on you.

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