What Is the Connection between Pain Management and Addiction?

Valerie Goldberg
Valerie Goldberg
Medications for pain management should only be taken as needed to prevent the possibility of addiction.
Medications for pain management should only be taken as needed to prevent the possibility of addiction.

A person suffering from chronic pain may qualify to be seen by a pain management doctor, who can develop a treatment plan to help patients with painful medical conditions have a higher quality of life. Pain management and addiction are sometimes connected because of the strong, narcotic pain killers with addictive properties that some doctors prescribe to such patients. It is important for people to remember that pain management and addiction do not have to go hand in hand. Some patients are able to use narcotic pain killers without becoming addicted, and there are pain management techniques available that do not involve addictive medications.

Pain sufferers should never borrow pills from other people.
Pain sufferers should never borrow pills from other people.

Pain management may be necessary for a patient coping with a potentially fatal illness, such as cancer, or for chronic but not deadly conditions such as back pain, fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis. Narcotic pain killers can be beneficial for some patients, despite their addictive qualities. Common pain medications prescribed to patients with painful conditions include morphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

In general, patients should refrain from increasing their dosage of pain medication without a medical consultation.
In general, patients should refrain from increasing their dosage of pain medication without a medical consultation.

A patient with a valid medical problem and no past history of addiction may be able to use narcotic pain medication without becoming addicted. It is important for such a patient to follow his doctor's orders specifically to avoid pain management and addiction problems. Patients should only take the amount of medication the doctor recommends, and they should never increase their dosage without a medical consultation. Pain sufferers also should only take their own prescription drugs and should never borrow pills from other people.

Some painkillers, known as narcotics, can be highly addictive.
Some painkillers, known as narcotics, can be highly addictive.

Pain management and addiction can be a problem when a person tries to continue taking narcotic pain killers after they are no longer needed. For example, a person may be given a prescription for a medication such as oxycodone after an accident. This is usually only for short-term use, until the injuries heal. Once the person is feeling better and the doctor gives him a clean bill of health, it is important for the patient to stop taking the pills, even if he or she has a few left in the container. A person who feels the urge to take more pills even though his pain is gone should speak to a doctor about drug counseling before the situation spirals out of control.

Pain management may be necessary for a patient coping with a serious illness.
Pain management may be necessary for a patient coping with a serious illness.

Some people may have a fear of pain management and addiction. There are multiple addiction-free alternatives that pain management doctors can offer to a patient. These solutions are often offered to people with past addictions, patients who come from families with a history of drug addiction, pregnant women and people who cannot or wish not to take narcotic pain killers. Non-addictive pain management methods include physical therapy, trigger-point injections and antidepressant medications.

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    • Medications for pain management should only be taken as needed to prevent the possibility of addiction.
      By: Feng Yu
      Medications for pain management should only be taken as needed to prevent the possibility of addiction.
    • Pain sufferers should never borrow pills from other people.
      By: DenisNata
      Pain sufferers should never borrow pills from other people.
    • In general, patients should refrain from increasing their dosage of pain medication without a medical consultation.
      By: Monkey Business
      In general, patients should refrain from increasing their dosage of pain medication without a medical consultation.
    • Some painkillers, known as narcotics, can be highly addictive.
      By: kmiragaya
      Some painkillers, known as narcotics, can be highly addictive.
    • Pain management may be necessary for a patient coping with a serious illness.
      By: Diana Valujeva
      Pain management may be necessary for a patient coping with a serious illness.
    • Many people who use morphine for pain management suffer an addiction after prolonged use.
      By: Innovated Captures
      Many people who use morphine for pain management suffer an addiction after prolonged use.