When Chronic Pain Turns Into a Substance Use Disorder

woman in pain holding her neck

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 100 million Americans deal with chronic pain. That’s about one-third of all Americans. Chronic pain constitutes the most popular reason people end up going on disability. However, for many people, chronic pain contributes to developing an addiction to painkillers. Surveys cited by NIDA indicate that 21-29% of people prescribed opioids to treat their chronic pain end up misusing them, and between 8-12% end up developing an opioid use disorder.

Helpful Ways to Combat Chronic Pain

While living with chronic pain can be challenging, these approaches can help ease symptoms:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Practicing regular meditation
  • Using massage therapy
  • Consulting a nutritionist for a healthy eating plan
  • Seeking help from a therapist who treats patients with chronic pain
  • Joining a support group for those living with chronic pain
  • Avoiding alcohol and smoking, which can worsen conditions

What to Do if Chronic Pain Has Turned Into a Substance Use Disorder

If living with chronic pain has developed into an addiction to pain pills, it’s time to take action. You can start by visiting your doctor. Establish a timeline for the length of time you’ve been taking medications. Tell your doctor the number of medications you have been taking. Remember, it’s essential to be honest, even if you have exceeded the recommended amount of dosages.

An addiction to opioids and other pain medications requires professional treatment. The first step is detoxifying from the substances built up in your system. Most medical professionals do not recommend detoxing at home. A formal treatment program can provide needed support to help you be more comfortable. Programs may offer medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. They may also provide psychological treatment to help with your emotional reaction and mindset. Once a detox program is complete, you can transition into other support systems. Residential treatment programs can give you a leg up on entering and maintaining recovery.

Chronic pain affects about one-third of the U.S. population. The condition is typically treated with prescription medications, which can result in a substance use disorder. If you live with chronic pain and are worried that you are now suffering from an addiction to pain pills, it’s time to seek help. The Detox Center of Colorado offers a high-level medical intervention with a supportive, home-like environment. Our peaceful Denver area location provides the perfect backdrop to detox and to begin recovery. Call us now at (303) 952-5035 to find out how we can help you.

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