Pain relief, reduction, and treatment are crucial in the world of health care and medicine. There is a delicate balance required to keep chronic pain at a minimum while controlling the risks of addiction. Opioids are the most common medications used to treat and relieve moderate, severe, and chronic pain. Opioids are highly addictive, and unfortunately, this can turn into a case of the cure being worse than the disease. Millions who have been prescribed opioid painkillers for legitimate pain have fallen victim to the cycle of abuse, addiction, and overdose. This epidemic has been rising steadily for the last two decades.
Overdoses involving prescription painkillers tripled from 2001 to 2014, with statistics showing that more people are addicted to painkillers than any other drug. As of 2015, 2 million Americans were suffering from a painkiller substance abuse disorder, in comparison to 591,000 with a heroin substance abuse disorder.
Millions of people are in genuine pain and truly need painkillers to relieve the pain, and so many of getting hooked, are abusing them, destroying their lives, and even dying for them. We are at a crossroads. It is not acceptable that a person lives in chronic, extreme pain without relief, nor is it acceptable that a person is in a constant state of addiction to the painkillers prescribed to relieve that pain. It is necessary to distinguish between legitimate painkiller use and pain management as an addiction.
A person who has become addicted to their prescribed painkiller, they are living with a disease that has affected their brain and made them physically dependent. Opioids used to treat pain include: Once they understand the process that their bodies need to go through to become healthy again, there are safe ways —with the help of professionals — for them to break free from addiction and regain control over their lives.
Painkiller Withdrawal and Pain
Addiction to painkillers ravages an individual’s body so much that it alters the circuits that are responsible for reward and mood behaviors as well as causes damage to other systems in the body. As a result of this, abruptly stopping the painkiller of choice will lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Such symptoms include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, Dilaudid, and fentanyl. Once access is limited either by the doctor no longer prescribing or due to lack of funds, a person addicted to painkillers will often turn to abuse heroin as well. For all of this highly addictive drug, detox is necessary to safely withdraw from the drug or drugs of choice. For opioid addiction, Allure Detox in West Palm Beach provides a safe and effective, medically assisted detox program.
The most common withdrawal symptoms from Opioids include diarrhea, chills, abdominal pain, body aches, mood swings, and depression. These symptoms, while not life-threatening, can be agonizing and intolerable. This can last for days or weeks and varied depending on how long an individual misused, how much they took, and by what method. Going through withdrawals without professional assistance almost always leads to the individual succumbing to their addiction and return to their misuse of the drug or drugs.
Pain Management and Drug Detox
The goal of pain management in addiction treatment is to assist the individual in tapering off of their drug of choice and finding alternative methods to relieving their pain. Due to the difficulty of withdrawing from painkillers, medications are used during detox to help ease the person out of dependency and reduce symptoms. There are different methods used, including methadone, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and buprenorphine.
At Allure Detox, one option we use to treat the chemically dependent person is Suboxone. Suboxone is a form of buprenorphine combined with naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. This means that it partially binds to the opioid receptor, which blocks the effects of other opiates, suppresses the withdrawal symptoms, and decreases drug cravings.
Naloxone is a drug that is used to reverse opioid overdoses and is present in the suboxone to discourage misuse of the buprenorphine by injection. More simply put, the Naloxone blocks the experience of the opioid high that addicts chase. This combination creates a gentler detox by lessening the withdrawal symptoms and preventing accidental addiction to the buprenorphine. Suboxone is considered by most health professionals to be a safer alternative to methadone and those in recovery can continue suboxone treatment even after leaving detox.
Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment
Addiction is a disease of loneliness and isolation. Habitual use of drugs and alcohol cuts us off from the things we value most – friends, families, and our higher selves. To recover, we must get back in touch with these forgotten aspects of our lives. So when we’re finally getting clean and sober, the last thing we need is more separation from the people we love and the parts of our lives we once found rewarding. What we need is to show up for life again, not deeper separation.
It is important to begin recovery from painkiller addiction by going through a medically assisted detox, and the professional and caring staff at Allure Detox are here 24 / 7 to help. Although addiction and pain can be chronic diseases, they can be managed.
At our medical detox and residential treatment facility, individuals struggling with addiction can rebuild their physical and mental health to move forward in recovery. If you or a loved one is chemically dependent on painkillers or any other drug, please contact us today!