More Pain, More Addiction Potential


A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry examined the link between the experience of pain and the risk of developing opioid use disorder. The results: People with moderate or more severe pain had a 41 percent higher risk of becoming addiction to prescription painkillers than those without.

The participants were also more likely to report substance use, mood or anxiety disorders, and a family history of drug, alcohol, and behavioral problems. Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center analyzed data from a national survey of alcohol and substance use in more than 34,000 adults in two waves, three years apart.

Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, and senior author of the report, said these results underscore the importance of three things when it comes to our national opioid abuse epidemic:

  • Developing effective, multimodal approaches to managing common painful medical conditions
  • Physicians being more attentive to addiction risk factors such as age, sex, and personal or family history of drug abuse
  • Monitoring patients who are prescribed opioid more carefully for signs of addiction

Signs of Opioid Addiction

If you or someone you love is suffering from chronic pain, you can play a part in helping to stop this drug crisis, too. The first step is to communicate with your doctor — about the risks of painkillers, non-drug pain management strategies, and your own family history. Then, get to known the warning signs of painkiller addiction, which according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, include:

  • A strong desire for opioids
  • An inability to control or reduce use
  • Continued use despite interference with major obligations or social functioning
  • Use of larger amounts over time
  • Development of tolerance
  • Spending a great deal of time to obtain and use opioids
  • Withdrawal symptoms after stopping or reducing use: negative mood, nausea or vomiting, muscle aches, diarrhea, fever, and insomnia

Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment
 

At Champion Center, our addiction treatment for chronic pain medication begins with medically managed detoxification designed to treat withdrawal symptoms and protect clients from breakthrough pain. Traditional chemical dependency treatment is then supplemented with techniques designed to create an alternative treatment strategy to replace the use of opiates. To learn more, call: 844-394-3767.

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