Pain management and drug treatment

78311207One of the primary concerns many substance abusers have when considering getting help for their addiction is what they will have to endure while in treatment. Among those concerns are pain and discomfort that may be incurred during the detox process.

In addition, many addicts became addicted to opiate drugs like prescription painkillers in their attempts to manage legitimate pain. These individuals may fear the pain that may return when they are weaned from the addictive substances. Thankfully, there are other pain management methods available.


You’ll generally undergo a brief interview upon admission to a substance abuse treatment facility before you’re on your way to detoxification. While not every addict requires detox, many do, and for addictions to certain substances, detox can be uncomfortable. Depending on the substance and the severity of the addiction, detox may consist of some uncomfortable and potentially serious side effects, per PsychCentral:

    • Fluctuating blood pressure
    • Extreme perspiration
    • Tremors

    • Physical aches and pains
    • Severe queasiness

Oftentimes, no further steps toward addiction treatment can be taken until all toxins and substances are removed from the patient’s body. This is verified by either blood serum levels or urinalysis. Withdrawal from alcohol and drugs is never easy. Even the majority of occasional drinkers have experienced a hangover at some point in their life. Essentially, a hangover is nothing more than a small withdrawal process from alcohol. The symptoms of a hangover are far milder than what patients experience during drug and alcohol detox, however.

For some individuals, particularly those addicted to heroin or other opiate drugs, withdrawal may involve a slow weaning-off process and the use of maintenance medications. These maintenance drugs, such as buprenorphine and methadone, make the withdrawal process both safer and more comfortable for the addict. Many addicts keep taking maintenance medication for months or years.

Managing discomfort

Many have concerns over treating a drug addict with drugs, but with proper medical supervision, it can be done well. For example, there is often little issue with treating someone who is dependent on alcohol with pain relievers like Valium or Ativan, per WebMD, especially in a controlled setting. Benzodiazepines have been shown to decrease the effects of alcohol withdrawal and inhibit the occurrence of seizures, which an approximate 1 to 4 percent of all alcohol withdrawal patients experience, per an Alcohol Health & Research World publication relayed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Detox drug dangers

Pill Mill Doctors Face ChargesIt should be noted that there is currently no medication available to manage the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction or dependency on methamphetamines. A common question is how pain can be managed for those treated for an addiction to opioid pain relievers or other narcotic prescription pain medications. It’s important to manage recovery addicts’ pain, as severe pain can be a significant contributor to relapse. Physicians may carefully monitor pain management medications, in addition to employing other alternative pain management means, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, and meditation.

Some patients often choose to forego any prescribed medications in fear of developing cravings for the treatment drugs while others willingly accept help and progress through treatment just fine.

Without a doubt, there are patients who become addicted to treatment drugs, but it is more commonly seen in those who are in long-term treatment plans on an outpatient basis, such as those utilizing methadone maintenance programs. The New York Times reported that methadone-related deaths rose almost fivefold between 1999 and 2005, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that while this may be true, the median rate of deaths among opiate addicts in methadone maintenance treatment is actually only 30 percent of the rate of those not in such programs. In essence, your chances of survival are far better in treatment, and sometimes treatment approaches do come down to picking between the lesser of two evils. Those with concerns regarding methadone may want to consider suboxone as a preferable treatment method due to its ceiling effect that limits the resulting high a patient can achieve even with higher doses.

Mental wellness

For many addicts, treating their substance abuse troubles are only half the equation. Around 50 percent of substance abusers also have one or more serious mental health disorders, per PsychCentral. For these individuals, a tandem treatment process must be applied to give the patient the very best shot at a successful recovery from addiction. Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health accounts for 53.7 percent of patients with co-occurring issues going without treatment for either issue, per data from 2012. In addition, NIH points out current trends of substance abuse among the mentally ill, noting participants in one study with severe mental illness were at nearly a fourfold risk of being heavy alcohol drinkers and over 4.6 times as likely to engage in drug use a minimum of 10 times during their lifespan.

Treatment totality

treatment totalityWhile detox is a highly effective way to rid your body of the substance you’re addicted to, it isn’t the sum of a complete treatment regimen. Patients who attempt to beat their addiction through detox alone, or without following up with aftercare treatment within a month, relapse sooner. Patients treated with detox and follow-up treatment take 40 percent longer to relapse, if they relapse at all, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Furthermore, the painful effects of withdrawal are often the strongest precursor to relapse or failed detox. In 2012, Science Daily reported on a Baylor College of Medicine Texas study on nicotine in rats, in which the dopamine deficits caused by withdrawal promoted relapse as an avenue for avoiding withdrawal symptoms. Your chances of successful recovery are much stronger when detoxing in a medically supervised facility and following up with a specialized treatment plan.

At The Recovery Village, you’ll receive nothing less than comprehensive care at its best with plenty of encouragement and moral support to back it up. Recovery is within reach, and we want this for you. Call us today and learn how we can help you manage pain and discomfort while beating your addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Pain Management and Drug Treatment
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