In this country, there is an worsening problem with people abusing prescription medication. Added to that is the fact that people who abuse opioids tend to have more pain, and they require more frequent hospitalization. This leaves healthcare providers with a dilemma, because pain medication is usually an addictive type of opioid and should be avoided as much as possible, but they don’t want to leave people in pain either.
Understanding the Problem with Prescription Drugs
Some 38.7 percent people in this country were hospitalized in 2004 and 25% of them were affected by substance abuse, much of which includes prescription painkillers. Most people who abuse opioids require pain treatment in Denton, TX, but it is often under-treated because painkillers can be addictive as well.
Usually, opioids are used very sparingly in pain management for those who have an addiction. However, research has now shown that this increases the chance of readmission, the length of stay, and the number of emergency visits made. In Denton, TX, however, it seems that practitioners are looking at ways to find a better balance in this.
Pain Management in People with an Addiction
Those who have addictions are classed as people who cannot control their drug use, who are compulsive in their use, who continue to use despite knowing it harms them, and who have cravings. Addiction is not the same as dependence or tolerance, because the latter two are purely physical in nature, rather than psychological as well. For people to be classed as addicted, they must have tolerance, go through withdrawal if they stop, increase their doses over time, try and fail to cut down, spend inordinate amounts of time trying to get hold of the substance, stop spending time on other activities, and keep using despite knowing the harm that the substance can cause. This is true regardless of the type of substance chosen.
Those who have an addiction are also more likely to have significant pain. In fact, between 9% and 41% of all such patients currently receive pain medication. Additionally, around two thirds report experiencing chronic pain. One of the reasons for this is believed to be hyperalgesia, which means that they have become overly sensitive to any strong stimulus.
It is believed that around 72% of addiction patients in Denton, TX, have a co-occurring mental health disorder. People with poor mental health are more likely to experience pain. As a result, they are also more likely to require further treatment.
Why Patients Are Under Treated for Pain
- Providers have wrong perceptions – addiction is seen as wrong, and people are often unwittingly biased, believing people need to “earn” their medication and accept their own role in their addiction first. Interestingly, this bias only exists in drug addiction and not in other diseases, even though relapse rates are as high in those recovering from an addiction as what they are in diabetics and asthmatics.
- There are concerns about opioids – known as “opiophobia”. Clinicians believe people will quickly become addicted to pain medication, even though only 1% of people on long term painkiller medication develop an addiction. They also fear that using painkiller medication will lead to a relapse.
- The system won’t allow other forms of treatment – systems are in place in pharmacies to prevent over-prescription. While this is necessary, it does at times lead to people not being able to receive the treatment they require.
Avoiding Under-Treatment for Pain in Rehab Facilities
In Denton, TX, rehab facilities are starting to understand the dangers of under-treating people who are recovering from an addiction with chronic pain issues. They have noted that these patients start to experience strong withdrawal symptoms, often making it impossible for them to complete their painpill detox period. They have also noted that these patients often have impaired functions because they have to manage their pain, which counteracts their recovery efforts.
To avoid this, Denton addiction counselors have started significant programs to educate both staff and providers. Healthcare practitioners are being made more aware of what addiction actually is, and how to recognize it as a condition. Now, patients are assessed not just when they enter rehab, but also when they visit other healthcare facilities. They are assessed for their chosen substances, and also for the level of pain that they experience, thereby identifying the best pain control methods out there.
According to specialists at Denton rehab facilities, taking a patient’s history is one of the most important things. This should be gathered in a non-judgmental way, thereby encouraging the patient to be truthful. Furthermore, they create regular pain reports, on which patients can indicate how they feel and how they respond to certain types of treatment.
Of greatest importance is treatment planning. Doing this properly builds trust, gives the patient a sense of control, and has an increased opportunity for outcomes to improve. Usually, patients are then provided with a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological options.painpill detox period