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When a Legitimate Need for Pain Treatment Becomes an Addiction







Many people have a real need for pain treatment. The problem is: most prescription drugs that are used to treat pain have the negative side effect of opiate addiction. The user does not mean to get hooked, but after using it for a while, the body makes up its own mind and decides that it wants that drug on a constant basis. A person can develop a drug addiction with one prescription; it just depends on the person. They may not realize they have an addiction until after being on the medication for a while. Once they are advised to wean off of it, they find they have trouble without the medication. And so the cycle begins, this is opiate addiction.

Although opiate dependence is a big problem in the United States, people with chronic, real pain still need to get some relief. Pharmaceutical laboratories are working on ways to treat pain without having to worry about addiction as a side-effect of the drug. Opiates are a great pain-reliever for short-term pain. This would be for a few weeks after surgery, injuries, childbirth or other body trauma. With ongoing, chronic pain, there is no good answer for medication a person can take long-term that does not have at least a small risk of dependency. There are some anti-seizure medications that can help treat pain in some people, but will not help all people. Why do people already having to suffer chronic pain have to suffer through addiction as well?

The good news about drug rehabilitation for someone who has chronic pain: there are ways to naturally deal with pain. While it may not be a cure, Vista Taos Drug Rehabilitation Center in New Mexico participates in complimentary therapies like massage and acupuncture. Those who have not tried massage therapy as a pain or stress reliever may be hesitant to believe it can work, but it can do wonders on an aching body and mind. Balancing medical and natural remedies is a smart and healthy way to deal with chronic pain.

Now, let it be known that the majority of people prescribed narcotics for pain relief will not develop an opiate addiction. It is said that 2 out of a 10 will become dependent on the drug. People who are being treated with opiates for pain should know that they only mask their pain and are not a cure. Other options should be evaluated. There are a lot of other methods besides prescription drugs to treat pain. They include occupational therapy and psychological counseling, among others.

When you have a person with a previous opiate addiction or someone who has been treated at a drug rehabilitation facility for addiction that is in pain, the person should not be denied treatment because of the possibility of addiction. In these cases, pain management needs to be handled by the medical provider carefully. Letting the person know that they will only receive a specific amount of medication and if it is “lost,” it will not be replaced. Former addicts that found sobriety in drug rehabilitation may be able to be successfully treated with pain medication and not have to worry about a return of opiate addiction or any other substance abuse relapse. However, doctors must be willing to monitor the dosage of the patient.

If you or a loved one have chronic pain and are currently dealing with an opiate addiction, please get the help you need by contacting a drug rehabilitation center. Learn ways to help cope with pain instead of feeding your opiate addiction with more pills. You can treat your pain and your addiction simultaneously; you do not have to pick one over the other.


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COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos Renewal Center continues to be our highest priority. Due to the national rise in cases of COVID-19, all potential clients entering the Vista Taos program shall be tested for the virus and must receive their results prior to admission. Vista Taos continues to work closely with the New Mexico Department of Health, adhering to the highest standards of care for our clients, and will provide subsequent testing after admission as needed. For assistance in finding the most efficient testing sites, please contact our Director of Community Relations, Jeremy Lihte, at (575) 425-1913
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