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Chronic Pain and Addiction: What are the Risks?

a doctor comforts someone struggling with chronic pain and addiction

People with chronic pain live daily, knowing their pain may never disappear. But they also know that they can’t keep living like this. They need help to find a way to control their pain and live a normal life. Often, the medicine offered to those with chronic pain is addictive—which can quickly lead to a cycle of chronic pain and addiction.

At Northpoint Seattle, we understand chronic pain and addiction. Our team knows how important it is to provide high-quality addiction resources to those struggling with chronic pain. Call 888.483.6031 for more information about chronic pain and addiction or to start a treatment program today.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. It can be caused by an injury, a health condition, or even unknown reasons. It can be challenging for many people who suffer from chronic pain to find relief.

The difference between chronic and acute pain is that chronic pain lasts much longer and can be more challenging to treat. Acute pain is usually caused by an injury or an illness and goes away once the injury heals, or the illness is treated. Chronic pain, on the other hand, persists even after the initial injury has healed or the underlying cause has been treated.

The Link Between Pain Management and Addiction

Unfortunately, many solutions available for people with chronic pain are highly addictive. Opioids are commonly prescribed for chronic pain but have a high risk of addiction and overdose. In fact, chronic pain is one of the most common reasons people start using opioids.

People with chronic pain often find themselves in difficult situations. They need pain relief, but the medications that offer the most comfort are also addictive. This can lead to a cycle of dependence and addiction that is difficult to break free from.

Additionally, many with chronic pain self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs before even seeing a doctor. This can lead to addiction problems before a person is prescribed any medication.

Minimizing the Risk of Addiction

If you suffer from chronic pain, you can take steps to minimize the risk of addiction.

  • Explore your options – Talk to your doctor about your options for pain relief, including non-opioid medications and alternative therapies.
  • Consider alternatives – Opioids should only be used as a last resort. If you do need to take opioids, be sure to take them exactly as prescribed.
  • Follow prescriptions – Avoid self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. If you feel like you may have a problem with addiction, get help from a professional.

There are many ways to manage chronic pain without resorting to addictive medications. With the help of a doctor, you can find a treatment plan that works for you.

Breaking the Chronic Pain and Substance Abuse Connection

If you or someone you know is struggling with chronic pain and addiction, help is available. Many resources are available to help break the cycle of dependence and get on the road to recovery. There are several types of addiction treatment available, including outpatient treatment like:

  • Outpatient programs – Standard outpatient programs typically meet for a few hours each week. This program can be helpful, but it may not offer the level of care needed to manage chronic pain and addiction.
  • Partial hospitalization – Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) offer more intensive treatment than outpatient programs. They typically involve up to six hours of treatment per day, a few days per week.
  • Intensive outpatient programs – Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer a high level of care while still allowing you to live at home. These programs typically involve around ten hours of treatment per week.

If you’re struggling with chronic pain and addiction, know you’re not alone. Many resources are available to help you get on the road to recovery.

Addiction Resources at Northpoint Seattle

If you’re struggling with chronic pain and addiction, Northpoint Seattle can help. We offer several programs designed to help you break the cycle of dependence and get on the road to recovery. Call 888.483.6031 to get started.