If you have developed a true addiction to your prescribed pain medication, you doubtless feel confused. You probably don’t know what to do, and this feeling is only natural. You’ve probably wondered if you should go to a drug rehab, too. Just what is the best course of action for someone like you? The fact is, there are certain drug rehabilitation centers that offer programs for people who need pain medication but who have also become addicted to this same medication. This article will explain what your options are, and will provide both the information and the hope that you’re seeking.
Most people who take prescribed opioid medication for a painful medical condition do not become addicted. Most take the medication as prescribed and do not deviate from their regimen. However, an important distinction must be made between physical dependence and true addiction. Anyone and everyone who takes opioids daily for any length of time, say, beyond a few weeks or so, WILL become physically dependent upon the opioid. This is a function of how opioids work in the brain. The brain becomes used to the presence of the opioid drug. After this occurs, the brain can no longer function normally without it. If the opioid is abruptly withdrawn, a highly unpleasant withdrawal syndrome will occur. These withdrawal symptoms include:
- Feelings of being hot and then cold
- Stomach pain
- Profound weakness
- Acute drug cravings
- Bone and muscle pain
- Restless leg syndrome
Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be reduced in severity by first gradually reducing the dose of the drug over time. However, opioid withdrawal shouldn’t be attempted without medical supervision. Medical detoxification is much, much safer. It’s also far more comfortable and vastly more likely to be successful.
Do I Have a True Addiction?
True addiction occurs when an individual takes opioid medication for any reason other than what it was prescribed for. For example, some people may take opioids to self-medicate for emotional pain. They may take opioids to escape. These are both examples of inappropriate opioid use. If true addiction has happened to you, you are not alone. Help is available. There are rehabs that specialize in just this very situation, and they are there to help you get back on track.
Can Addiction Medicine Help With Chronic Pain?
You will need to go to a rehab center that specializes in addiction medicine. Know that rehabs will attempt to remove you from all opioid medication and replace it with non-narcotic medication. You will be slowly detoxed from your current opioid regimen. There shouldn’t be any severe discomfort. Other non-drug therapies, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and biofeedback, will likely be applied as well. You will need to be cooperative and open-minded. Give the rehab’s suggestions a chance. You may find that they help a great deal. If they don’t, then the rehab may allow you to resume opioid therapy, but they will encourage low doses of lower-potency opioids, and even then, only as a last resort.
Along with medication adjustments, the rehab will offer counseling. This counseling will give you insight into why you began to abuse your medications in the first place. This counseling is critical. Take it seriously. It may be key into preventing a future relapse, especially if your medical condition requires that you resume opioid therapy in the future.
Rehab or Pseudo-Addiction?
Some people appear to abuse their pain medications because they aren’t getting enough relief from their current regimen. This is known as pseudo-addiction. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe stronger opioid medications, especially in higher doses. This is not the patient’s fault. People who aren’t getting sufficient medication to manage their pain may be falsely and unfairly labeled as being drug-seekers and opioid addicts. When these same people begin to get proper levels of pain relief, their pseudo-addiction symptoms stop and do not recur. Unfortunately, many doctors who are not pain management specialists aren’t familiar with pseudo-addiction and may fail to recognize it.
People with pseudo-addiction do not need rehab. They need to have their medications adjusted to a proper level. Be honest with yourself and consider if pseudo-addiction may apply to you. If so, or if you’re not sure, have a frank discussion with your physician. You may need to see a doctor who specializes in pain medicine. These doctors are familiar with pseudo-addiction and how to address it. They are also more knowledgeable about opioids and know that some people require significantly higher doses than others. Not everyone metabolizes medications in the same way. A pain medicine specialist will be able to help you identify and resolve any pseudo-addiction issues. However, if your problem is true addiction and not pseudo-addiction, then you definitely require quality rehabilitation services at a facility familiar with addiction medicine.
What About My Quality of Life?
There can be no doubt that opioids allow a much higher quality of life for many people suffering from painful conditions. Chronic pain can cause depression and anxiety. It prevents people from enjoying pleasurable aspects of life. No one should have to live with constant, intractable pain. On the other hand, true addiction cannot be ignored. It’s highly destructive, both to the individual and to those close to him or her. With professional help, it’s possible to address both the addiction and the chronic pain issues. The right rehab will give you the tools you need to live a healthy, pain-controlled life.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. If you need both pain relief and addiction help, it’s not something you can handle alone. Your best option is to call us at (877) 871-3356. We are here 24 hours a day and we are trained to help you find the best facility for you. It’s all confidential, and we are eager to help point you in the right direction. Please don’t hesitate. Call us today.