Why Chronic Pain and Addiction Often Go Hand in Hand

Addiction is linked to many things, and chronic pain is one of them. Chronic pain is any pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. The pain can range from moderate to debilitating. Living a life in discomfort can eventually cause physical, mental and emotional struggles. After all, it’s hard to focus on work or school and maintain strong social connections when you never feel well.

Our Drug Rehab in Agoura Hills Works with Chronic Pain Sufferers

At Awakenings Treatment Center, we work with clients who suffer from chronic pain and substance abuse. Though each person has unique circumstances, we find that most clients become addicted to prescription medications for one of two reasons. Either they were prescribed the drugs and grew dependent on them, or they used the drugs to self-medicate.

Unfortunately, chronic pain and addiction create a dangerous cycle. If the underlying pain is not treated, it’s difficult to stop abusing drugs. If a person continues to use drugs, they can’t get healthy. The Awakenings treatment team understands. We offer comprehensive, dual diagnosis addiction treatment in Agoura.

When Chronic Pain and Substance Abuse are Connected

Let’s learn more about chronic pain and addiction and why they often go hand in hand.

Habit-forming Pain Medication

Chronic pain sufferers are often put on medication to treat their symptoms. Medications used to treat persistent pain include opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and over-the-counter pain relievers. Unfortunately, many of these drugs can be habit forming.

While the majority of chronic pain sufferers will not become addicted, enough can. And this is a problem. According to the CDC, roughly 115 people die every day from an opioid overdose. From 1999 to 2016, more than 630,000 Americans died from opioids.

The increase in deaths can be traced back to three reasons:

  • In the 1990s, opioids were overprescribed. The laws were less strict, allowing doctors and pain clinics to write an excess of opioid prescriptions. Pain patients also had an easier time doctor shopping.
  • In 2010, overdose deaths from heroin increased. As the laws cracked down on doctors and pain clinics, it became harder for people to get opioids. Some who were addicted switched to heroin, a cheaper and more accessible alternative.
  • In 2013, overdose deaths from synthetic opioids increased. Today, we still see many synthetic drugs that contain illegally made fentanyl. In fact, because of fentanyl, synthetic opioids now surpass prescription opioids as the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths.

Self-Medicating Practices

People turn to drugs and alcohol for all types of reasons, such as social pressures, curiosity and a desire to fit in. However, we don’t talk enough about people who abuse substances to reduce the symptoms of mental illness or chronic pain, a practice called self-medication.

When prescription painkillers are used differently than prescribed, they can be dangerous. A person may end up taking the wrong dosage, the wrong type of medication or combine it with drugs that create an adverse reaction. Even though the intention was not to get addicted, abusing drugs can quickly lead to addiction and the need for dual diagnosis rehab in California.

Chronic pain and addiction do not have to be your life. At Awakenings Treatment Center, we specialize in treating chronic pain disorders and substance use disorders. Contact our treatment center today to learn about your options.