With a rise in prescription drug abuse reported this summer, the U.S. has begun to shift its drug policy focus from illicit—and smuggled substances—to legal, and easily obtained drugs, the most common of these being prescription painkillers. The increase in usage is a cause of great concern for those in drug addiction treatment circles. As a countermeasure, in July of this year public health officials signed a document petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to set regulations that would limit a doctor’s power to prescribe certain amounts of painkillers, and to reduce the dosage levels as they appear on bottles.
Unfortunately, those who become addicted to prescription painkillers are more often than not those who need them the most—chronic pain drives them to use more than the recommended dosage, creating a crippling dependency on the substance, and the intent to misuse is nebulous. The worst part is that even after seeking drug addiction treatment the physical pain is still there, and as fair as many doctors are concerned, prescription drugs are the only way of managing it. But there are various alternatives to alleviating pain, and extricating the chronic pain from substance abuse and substance abuse rehab.
In addition to helping relieve stress and anxiety, often caused by chronic pain, massage will loosen muscles and lessen the intensity of pain. Although the research behind the benefits of massage is limited, recent studies suggest that massage can also help muscles to rejuvenate and heal after overuse.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of therapy in the world, and the procedure, which involves penetrating various stress points with small, metal needles, has been reported to control pain and relieve anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Chronic pain is exacerbated by the anxiety of trying to manage it. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can help sufferers rewire the cognitive processes related to pain and stress, allowing them to better cope with daily discomfort. If you can think about pain differently, you might be able to experience it in a less intense, and uncomfortable way.
When doctors can work to remove chronic pain from the necessity of prescription drugs, addiction to these substances might decrease. Chronic pain should not be an automatic precursor for drug addiction treatment, and hopefully these alternative therapies can help to move focus from the addiction back to the root of concern: pain.