Not only opiates are a highly addictive treatment for pain. So addictive that many doctors hesitate to prescribe them to patients looking for long term solutions to pain. Very often doctors leave out several facts about opiates that you should know about before you begin taking them.
They are Addictive
Yes, this seems obvious but when a doctor prescribes a painkiller after surgery or an injury, they encourage you to take them. Even just a few doses of a high end opiate can lead to a nasty addiction and withdrawal.
Not everyone who Takes Opiates becomes Addicted
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is inaccurate data when it comes to addiction rates. The current estimate is between 3 and 40 percent. The reason for this gap is the difference between addiction and dependence.
- Addiction is defined as – compulsive use of a drug without thought or regard to harmful consequences. People who are addicted will do anything to get the drug and their use gradually becomes out of control when they are on the drug. They cannot stop using the drug despite the damage it does. They also develop a tolerance to the drug and will go through withdrawal if the drug is stopped.
- Dependence is defined as – dependence is when a drug is used correctly and needed for treatment of pain. It often also leads to tolerance and withdrawal if they stop taking it suddenly.
These two conditions are very close in nature. This is why it is so difficult for doctors to tell the difference between addiction and dependence. Some people need opiates to function without pain while others start out needing them for pain and then the drug begins to take over their life. In early stages it is impossible to tell which patients are addicted and which are dependent on the drug.
There are Viable Alternatives to using Opiates
Many doctors will not suggest alternatives to opiate and opioid medications. Some the alternatives suggested by the Food and Drug Administration are:
- Stimulators – these are implants that stimulate certain nerves to alleviate pain.
- Pumps – these implants pump medications directly to the affected area.
- Nerve blocks – a surgical procedure that actually blocks the nerves transmitting pain signals.
- Steroid injections – doctors inject steroids into the affected areas.
On top of these treatments, there are also herbal medications. It is very important to note that some herbal medications are just as dangerous if not more dangerous than prescription drugs and should only be used under a doctor’s supervision. Some of these herbal medications are:
- Kratom – although this is a new drug on the market, it does show some promise for treatment of chronic pain. Kratom is known to be addictive in some cases and needs a qualified doctor to help with dosage instructions and monitoring.
- Willow bark – for years willow bark has been used as a safe alternative to aspirin and other painkillers.
When trying herbal remedies it is important to make sure you are under medical supervision. Some herbal medications are toxic in high quantities.
There are options that are not opiate relate-d. If you are addicted to opiates, you do not have to be in pain. For more information call use at 800-584-3274.