If you are dealing with chronic pain and a related opioid addiction, you are not alone. Many peoples’ opiate use disorders originate in their battle with chronic pain. Chronic pain can precede the addiction, in which case the opiates become a tool for self-medication in an effort to find relief. Perhaps you were prescribed opioids to aid in recovery from surgery or other injuries, and your brain responded in an addictive way.
On the other hand, your chronic pain issues may be the result of injuries sustained in and through active addiction. When these injuries are not attended to properly due to neglect, financial concerns, or other reasons, they can fester and the pain merely grows.
In any case, regardless of which issue came first, recovery is possible. For the best results, both chronic pain and addiction must be addressed simultaneously in order to achieve long-term recovery.
Living with chronic pain
As your first step to recovery, consider making an appointment with your primary care physician to address your chronic pain. If you don’t currently have a primary care physician, now is a great time to establish a relationship with one. They will play a crucial role in properly diagnosing and assessing your chronic pain issues, as well as helping you find the solution that is right for you.
Start by explaining your situation to them in full detail. Emphasize your desire to avoid treating the pain with opiates due to your struggle with addiction. Educate yourself on opioid alternatives and ask questions about your options; remember, you are your own best advocate.
Your doctor will hopefully be able to point you in the direction of other medical professionals that can accompany you on your recovery from chronic pain. Some of these professionals may include:
- Addiction specialists;
- Rehabilitation therapists;
- Physical therapists;
Your doctor may also suggest holistic therapies to address your chronic pain, such as:
It is important to make sure that all of your medical professionals are aware of your substance use history so that they do not prescribe you any prescription that could jeopardize your recovery.
While it can be tempting to focus merely on the physical side of chronic pain as it is seemingly the most urgent directive, one must not forget the mental and psychological aspects of the human person. Surround yourself with stories of healing and transformation, scouring every corner for inspiration and improvement. Rebuild your inner dialogue to become a proactive character in your own story.
Addressing substance abuse
While chronic pain is a medical issue that should be dealt with accordingly, substance abuse is largely psychological and should be worked through with a psychologist or psychiatrist. To begin addressing your substance use disorder, contact a counseling agency that specializes in these issues for an intake evaluation. As a key component of your evaluation, a trained substance abuse counselor will determine which level of care is best for you based on your current substance use patterns. Once enrolled in a treatment program, you will be able to address underlying issues that contribute to your substance use disorder. Substance abuse may find its roots in any of the following:
- Peer pressure;
- Financial difficulties;
- Pain management;
- Family history of addiction.
This time with a therapist may also help treat any other co-occurring disorders you could be suffering from as well.
You will also learn coping skills to address any triggers that may jeopardize your recovery. These coping skills are what will help you continue down the path of recovery long after your treatment sessions. Finding a recovery community during this time will help keep you accountable for months and even years down the line. Make sure to sign a release of information with all of your treatment providers so that your counselors and anyone else involved in your substance use disorder recovery can communicate with your chronic pain recovery team.
Get help today
Are you ready to begin again? Rehab After Work is here for you. Explore our various treatment plans, and schedule an evaluation today. Contact us at 610-644-6464 to take your first step to a new tomorrow.