Although everyone feels pain, it is a subjective experience, meaning that individual characteristics influence how it is perceived. Acute pain is a sudden or severe pain that diminishes as the body heals. Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts for months or even years. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 20% of adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain. It is so pervasive that it is now considered by many to be a health condition on its own. Chronic pain impacts all areas of a person’s life and can leave them feeling helpless and hopeless. However, help is available at the chronic pain management program at Westwind Recovery®.
At Westwind Recovery®, we know that individuals who suffer from chronic pain often find themselves trapped in the cycle of dependency on drugs and alcohol as they try to manage their pain and the depression that often accompanies it. Whether you require pain management only or also need addiction treatment, contact us at 855.340.8832 to learn how we can help you find relief.
The Link Between Addiction and Chronic Pain
Prescription opioids are often the first line of defense against chronic pain. While effective, they are also highly addictive, as evidenced by the devastation of the current opioid crisis that has gripped our nation since the 1990s. Prescription opioids like OyxContin, Vicodin, and Percocet flood the brain’s pain centers with dopamine, providing relief and, often, a feeling of euphoria. In essence, the brain becomes reliant on these prescriptions to produce dopamine, needing more and more over time to produce the same effect, creating a dependency that frequently leads to addiction.
Under the guidance of physicians, many people can take prescription opioids without becoming addicted, while others are more vulnerable. Addiction is a multi-faceted, complex disease making it difficult to determine why some people with chronic pain become addicted and others do not. Some of the risk factors include the following:
- Past or present addictions to other substances, including tobacco and alcohol
- Family history of substance use disorders
- Lack of knowledge about prescription drugs and the potential dangers
- Underlying mental health conditions
- Ease of access to drugs
- Having multiple health problems
- Unstable or unsupportive home environment or lack of solid support network
It is estimated that approximately 25% of individuals with chronic pain develop chronic pain syndrome (CPS), where symptoms beyond pain interfere with normal daily functioning. CPS can be difficult to treat, but Westwind Recovery® offers comprehensive and effective chronic pain management.
Understanding Chronic Pain Syndrome
Chronic pain syndrome (CPS) can affect people of all ages and is more common in women. Individuals with underlying major depression and other mental health disorders are more likely to develop CPS. Experts do not know what causes CPS, but most agree that it has physical and mental roots. Chronic pain begins with a bodily injury or painful chronic health condition. Common examples are:
- Physical trauma from accidents or surgery
- Arthritis or other joint problems
- Diseases like cancer and Lyme disease
- Back injuries
- Digestive disorders like ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic headaches
- Muscle or nerve damage
Part of what makes chronic pain so complex is that an injury to one part of the body can cause additional issues elsewhere. For example, an individual who has a back injury from a car accident can also experience insomnia, headaches, nerve pain, anxiety, or depression. Additional impacts of chronic pain can include:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Marital, family, or relationship problems
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Job loss
- Changes in appetite
- Suicidal thoughts
Find Relief from Chronic Pain at Westwind Recovery®
The impacts of chronic pain are complex and far-reaching. For many, trying to manage chronic pain inadvertently leads to drug or alcohol dependence or addiction. In the chronic pain management program at Westwind Recovery®, we take an individualized approach to treating chronic pain and addiction. Through methods including acupuncture, meditation, physical therapy, medication management, and mental health therapy, we can provide you with the best chance to find comfort and overall healing. Contact us at 855.340.8832 to learn more.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.