The United States of America roughly represents about five percent of the world’s total human population. Populous is one of the country’s only small statistics. More than 70% of the world’s consumption of pharmaceutical drugs occurs within the United States. A large percentage of those pharmaceutical drugs are narcotic painkillers, specifically opiates.
Opiate drug addiction is one of the leading cause of overdose deaths worldwide. Celebrity deaths like actor Heath Ledger and singer Prince were due to unintentional overdose on powerful opiate drugs. Mixing opiates with other drugs, drinking and taking opiates, or taking too many opiates at once are common causes for accidental overdose.
Government officials around the world are scrambling to create legislation and find funding for the treatment of opioid addicts. Simultaneously, there is a need to regulate yet still provide for people who require opiate prescriptions for chronic pain. While there are a few alternatives as to prescription medications for treating chronic pain, they are not as widely successful as opiates. For now, pain and addiction are synonymous.
Recovery from addiction is not the end of pain. Accidents and surgeries still happen, leading to the experience of chronic pain. However, due to the highly addictive nature of narcotic painkillers, addicts in recovery are challenged when taking prescribed opiates. Of course, the debate on what constitutes a relapse is wide and varied. The real concern is that the intense sensation of euphoria and relaxation produced by prescription painkillers could be triggering and lead to relapse. Even when taken according to doctor’s orders, the drugs can cause a dependency which could lead to abuse and eventually, addiction.
A New Approach
Could therapy be a solution to pain? Many addicts in recovery know the transformational power of healing emotional pain through therapeutic work. Whether it is in talk therapy, or the program of recovery outlined by twelve step fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a way. Often, emotional pain and chronic physical pain are closely intertwined. ImPAT, standing for Improving Pain during Addiction Treatment is an experimental therapy system being tested on veteran’s by the University of Michigan. Combining cognitive behavioral therapy with a psychosocial therapy method called acceptance and commitment therapy. Lead author and PhD Mark Illgen stated that the study intended to “take the focus off pain and put it into functioning and finding pleasurable ways to spend time.” Pain, he says, “is responsive to mood, and mood is responsive to social support.
Aurora Recovery Center believes in the power of recovery. We offer men and women’s addiction treatment programs for opioid addiction. For more information on how we can help you recover today call 1844-515-STOP.