|Pain Medicine and Recent Studies
||[Aug. 24th, 2007|09:34 am]
It is very difficult for those of us with chronic pain that is interfering in life when new articles come out which lead the public to panic and believe that all people who need any level of pain medication are addicted to it and that because the use of medication is up that it is all because of drug abuse. I'd like to state for the record that I'm on a combination treatment devised by the Swedish Hospital First Hill Pain Managment Clinic, Seattle, WA. It consists of mainly a high dose of non-narcotic nerve pain blocking medication with a very low dose of vicoden (one of the smaller doses you can get). I never get high off of my medication and I resent it when people assume that I do.
Is there a major problem with misuse and abuse of prescription drugs in the world? Yes. Just like with any substance, they are widely abused.
It depresses me that so few people know the difference between physical dependency and addiction. There is a huge difference when it comes to treating medical problems.
One other thing that most people don't understand is if you are on a consistent low dose of pain medication, it doesn't cloud your thinking. As quoted from stoppain.org
"Although opioids can make people sleepy and cloud their thinking, this side effect is usually temporary and long-term therapy is usually associated with normal thinking. Many people fear that taking an opioid will cause them to become "a zombie," unable to function even if the pain is relieved. Fortunately, this is not the case. Most patients can take these drugs for a long period of time and be mentally normal. Patients who have been stabilized on opioid therapy and are clearheaded can drive, work, and do whatever else is necessary."
If you know me, you may have noticed if I forget to take my medication serious side effects happen. I can't finish a sentence and I forget words. I get weepy and emotional and sometimes very crabby. I become slow and have a very hard time functioning. This is because my brain is distracted with increasing, crippling pain. I can't think straight, seriously, because my body is sending so many signals that my mind is being overrun. If I have a pain day that isn't bad, it's hardly noticable. If it is a bad pain day, you can't help but notice it.
Lastly, about ME in particular. I'm as sensitive on this topic as I am about weight issues. I have a consistent, well managed pain treatment program. I've NEVER increased the medication I take since 2003. The difference pain treatment has made in my life is hard to describe in words, so I'll describe in in actions. Before pain treatment many days I would just lay on the floor and cry. Half of the time I had to cancel plans. I couldn't even enjoy talking with my family indoors anymore. I often times would pray that I would just die so that the situation could end. You could say that I'm dependent on my medications because I can't function normally without them. I have a chronic medical problem that can't currently be cured. I hope that it will be cured. I hope that some day it is no longer needed for me to take medication. I keep working towards that day and I always have hope that it will happen. However, I take my prescribed dose and use them for the intended purpose only. That is the difference between dependency and addiction. Do not assume that my appropriate treatment is somehow "fun" for me. I would trade any medication in the world for my health instead. Me WITH pain treatment is nowhere near as good as me without this disease. It just allows me some quality of life, but still less quality than if I were just able to have decent health and a normal amount of pain without medication. Don't you think I get tired of managing my prescriptions, paying for them, lining them up each day, taking them 4 times per day every day, refilling them, and being totally screwwed if I ever forget them? Don't you think I get tired of going to the doctor? I want to be freaking finished. It makes me even more angry when people insist that by getting treatment that I'm doing something wrong. While the medical issue I have can't be "fixed" it can be "managed" and that is all I'm doing. I'm managing my medical condition to the best of my ability with great doctors, trying to live the best life I can. Like anyone else in chronic pain, I'd love to offer one day in my body without medication to anyone who would be so negative about me trying to get treatment, and I think a whole new level of empathy would emerge.