Health Tips from a Mother of Three

Getting Relief For Chronic Pain When You Have A Chemical Dependency Disorder

Chronic pain can be a debilitating condition for anyone—however, chronic pain in someone that has a chemical dependency disorder presents unique challenges for both the physician and the patient. Physicians are understandably concerned about patients relapsing into destructive cycles of substance abuse. Patients, for their part, may be afraid both of relapsing and of being unable to get adequate pain relief. 

If you're a patient with chronic pain and a substance abuse disorder, this is what you should know about how those challenges can be met.

Your physician can explore a variety of treatment options.

Depending on the source of your pain, your physician can try to treat the problem with non-narcotics. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying drugs can be used, for example, to treat common arthritis pain. Since depression and fibromyalgia pain are linked, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used to help control that kind of pain. Low-level pain from a variety of sources can be treated with prescription analgesics, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Methadone, which is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms and curb addiction cravings, is also used as a pain medication for those with chronic conditions.

If your pain is more intense, it may be necessary for your physician to put you on an opioid like codeine or hydrocodone. Stronger opioids, like hydromorphone and morphine, can be reserved for more severe pain. This is when it becomes particularly important to have an open and honest relationship with your physician so you can discuss your fears about falling back into a cycle of destructive addiction. Keep in mind that you don't want to avoid narcotics if they're genuinely necessary—inadequate pain control can actually precipitate a relapse into addiction.

You can take steps to make sure that you don't relapse into substance abuse.

There are several different things that you can do to help yourself avoid the temptation to fall back into substance abuse. For example, if you have a family member or close friend that's willing to assist you, discuss having your physician entrust that person with your pain prescriptions. He or she can make sure that you get the doses according to schedule. 

You can also reduce your likelihood of relapse by going to counseling. Many experts believe that one-on-one counseling and individualized treatment is the most effective type of addiction counseling. A counselor can also help you deal with the social, economic, and psychological stressors that come along with suffering from both addiction and chronic pain. If the condition causing your pain is fairly new or sudden, counseling can also help you adjust to necessary lifestyle changes caused by your physical problems.

Finding effective treatment for chronic pain isn't a hopeless issue, even if you have a chemical dependency disorder. Talk to your physician today about how to balance out the issues so that you can continue to live a healthy, productive life for years to come. For more information, visit a site like