Pain management for addiction treatment
Chronic pain requires long-term approaches to pain, and often involves the prescription of opioids or other pain-relieving substances. While opioids and other analgesics can assist with the management of long-term pain, they are highly addictive and can lead to tolerance, dependence, addiction and drug-seeking behavior.
Patients may begin to take their prescribed drugs more frequently or at higher doses in order to maintain the same level of relief and to stave off withdrawal symptoms. They may begin to seek out multiple prescriptions from different physicians or specialists, or may seek to have the same prescription filled at multiple pharmacists.
Their addiction may also lead them to seek out painkillers on the black market, or turn to stronger street drugs such as heroin. Patients who have a history of opioid or other drug addiction, have a family history of substance abuse, and are involved in the legal system or have psychosocial stressors are more likely to abuse their prescription painkillers.
While seeking treatment through rehab or a detox program can help addicts break their drug dependence, the withdrawal symptoms associated with weaning off opioids or other pain management drugs can be immensely painful and even life-threatening.
Additionally, these addicts have very real persistent pain problems that still require treatment or medication, regardless of the individual’s addiction – and require a solution that manages their addiction while simultaneously providing treatment for their chronic pain. In these cases such individuals may seek out drug rehab with pain management options.
Drug rehab with pain management
Pain management for addiction treatment is a challenge for primary care providers and for drug rehab programs. Prescribing physicians in chronic pain and addiction treatment centers have the same goal with their addicted patients as with others: to provide pain relief while allowing optimal functioning. Physicians in such centers are trained to understand addictive disorders and the disease of addiction, and thus prescribe medication for chronic pain with this in mind.
The patient will have only one prescribing physician who will closely monitor the patient’s prescriptions, reduce dosages to the minimum effective dose, monitor for tolerance, undertake periodic weaning to monitor dependence and use non-psychoactive painkillers where possible
A strict monitoring of patients around the clock is often undertaken in drug rehab with pain management, as regular medication allows for a constant level of pain relief. This is in contrast to medication on an as-needed basis, which may result in pain building up and thus patients needing more of the medication to control their pain.
Similarly, physicians practiced in pain management for addiction treatment will also be cautious about the type of medication provided. While some providers will aim to use non-opioid drugs as a way of minimizing the likelihood of addiction, this can result in poor pain management, and thus the patient seeking out stronger painkillers during treatment or upon being released from rehab. Additionally, this group of patients may be prescribed slower-acting medication as its slow release reduces the “high and crash” feeling that may be ascribed to fast-acting medications.
Post-rehab treatment of chronic pain addiction
Even when a patient has completed their rehabilitation program, their chronic pain issues will remain. This puts them at greater risk of relapse than other addicts – and the risk is already high.
Closely monitoring patients with chronic pain via outpatient treatment, regular meetings and careful prescribing practices can reduce the risk of relapse. Addicted patients often have attitudes and fears that run contrary to good quality medical practices and that may compromise the patient-doctor relationship and the quality of care provided. Efforts to open communication can help create trust and reduce the risk of relapse; patients may also be prescribed non-opioid medications such as buprenorphine or methadone to reduce the patient’s likelihood of relapsing into drug dependence and addiction.
A common element of pain management for addiction treatment both during and post-rehab will be psychological counseling in a group or individually. This may be combined with family treatment, with trusted family members put in control of managing the patient’s pain medication distribution. Additionally, patients may also be asked to sign a prescription contract whereby only one physician is able to prescribe for the patient, and only one pharmacy able to distribute. Lost or stolen medication will not be replaced without a police report, and random urine testing may be required of them to monitor relapse.
At White Sands Tampa, we offer quality pain management for addiction treatment based on best practices and with patient outcomes in mind. If you’re struggling with an addiction and with chronic pain, we can help. Contact us about our programs today at 1-877-640-7820.