PSYCH REVIEW

Living With Pain Relievers is Not Entirely Pain‑Free

Do you find yourself dependent upon pain relievers to perform daily tasks?

Pain Reliever Dependency

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A specific cause can generally be identified for acute pain that begins suddenly. This can be the result of a fall, assault, sports injury or surgery. In such cases, opioid pain relievers may be prescribed until the injury heals or pain subsides.

Chronic pain, with or without an identifiable origin, lasts at least 3 to 12 months, depending upon the medical institu­tion. Untreated chronic pain may lead to danger­ous physical and emotional consequences. Long-term over-the-counter NSAIDs can cause stomach, liver and/or kidney damage. Long-term opioid use is associated with even more physical harm.

Short-Term Side Effects of Opioid Use

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Euphoria

Recognize steps leading to drug abuse. What begins as a legitimate prescrip­tion for pain relief often escalates to using more than what is prescribed. It may branch out to stronger illegal substance. Increasing your prescrip­tion can result in a harm­ful overdose. Too many opioids may cause breathing to slow and stop. Overdoses can be nonfatal or they can result in death. Pain rehabili­ta­tion services are usually nearby. In an emergency, dial 911 in North America.

Opioid Overdose Emotional and Neurological Side Effects

Consequences of Living With Pain Relievers

Both therapeutic and chronic uses of opioids compro­mise the immune system.

  • Experiencing Paranoia. It is not uncommon for people to report over­whelming feelings of paranoia while addicted to drugs. Buying and using illegal substances is enough to instill the feeling in users.
  • Feeling Anxious. Addicts rely on drugs to feel good (and to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms). They then feel anxious as they wait for their next dose. This anxiety makes it difficult to stay focused and can cause problems in every aspect of life.
  • Suffering from Depression. Depression (among other mental health issues) is widely known to be risk factor of drug addic­tion. When combined with feelings of guilt or shame, it’s easy for a clinically-diagnosable case of depression to emerge.

Do you find yourself depen­dent upon pain relievers to perform daily tasks? If so, ask your primary physician for a referral to a pain manage­ment team. The inter­discipli­nary team includes medical practi­tioners, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, physio­therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, mental health specialists, physician assistants, nurses and sometimes pharmacists.

Chronic pain treatment remedies combine pharma­colo­gical measures, inter­ven­tional procedures, physical therapy, physical exercise, application of ice and/or heat, and psycho­logical measures, such as bio­feed­back and cognitive behavioral therapy.

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