- Approximately 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – more than the number of people affected by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined;
- The over prescribing of opioids in the treatment of painful medical disorders including arthritis, headache, lower back pain and other musculoskeletal illnesses is a major cause of Opioid Addiction
- However: For documented and accurately diagnosed pain, opioids do not increase the risk of addiction.
- The over prescribing of benzodiazepines and sleep medications for anxiety and insomnia associated with painful medical illnesses often result in substance use disorders to these medications.
- Opioids are among the most effective medication available for managing pain in medicine today. They are also the most widely abused.
- The paradox is that sometimes the dependency on Opioid Pain-killers for a pain condition is a factor leading to chronic pain syndromes.
Illness/Injury in Substance Use Disorder -SUD- Patients: Prescribing Opioids
The problem: Opioid Pain Medications are often not properly prescribed to patients who have a history of Alcohol or Substance Use Disorders out of fear of “feeding the addiction” or of ”triggering relapse” in abstinent patients.
Addiction Psychiatrists believe that our patients who experience pain from illness or injury can be safely treated within the context of their medical or surgical care.
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Comprehensive Diagnostic Assessment focusing on, Dual Diagnosis, Poly-Drug Addiction and Co-occurring Medical Disorders.
- Series of validated psychiatric diagnostic screens;
- Complete diagnostic laboratory tests helpful in diagnosing medical disorders associated with addiction and co-occurring psychiatric illness;
- Medication Management of Addictions and Psychiatric Disorders;
- Coordination of care with Pain specialists.
Opioids for Pain vs. Opioids in Addiction
Below is a chart showing the Clinical Features of a patient Addicted to Opioids and one that is not addicted to Opioids–or taking it for pain management. Note the difference of the two.
Appropriate treatment minimizes the risks associated with acute and chronic pain such as:
- Suboptimal pain management;
- Poor medical care;
- Overdose and drug associated suicide;
- Poor short and long term recovery outcomes;