Scientists unravel link between pain and addiction to prescription opioids

Scientists unravel link between pain and addiction to prescription opioids

In America, more patients visit physicians’ office for pain than any other disorder. The nature of pain may be moderate or severe and may last for a short interval of time or continue for prolonged periods. According to the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, nearly 100 million Americans are afflicted with chronic pain. Prescription opioids are mostly advised as a pharmacological intervention for pain treatment, despite millions of Americans getting increasingly addicted to the use of these painkillers.

There are many effective remedies available to treat pain, which include opioids or alternative therapies comprising mindfulness practices or dietary approaches. However, medical practitioners are expected to exercise caution while prescribing opioids because any medical inadequacy can increase the risk for opioid overdose or opioid use disorder.

Examining the link between pain and prescription opioid use disorders

While the relationship between pain and opioid use disorder is still being studied,  lack of adequate information can further add to the challenges faced by patients seeking a complete recovery from pain.  Recently, a group of researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center sought to examine the association between feelings of manageable and acute pain and disorders arising from prescription opioid use among non-institutionalized American people.

The authors of the study titled “Pain as a Predictor of Opioid Use Disorder in a Nationally Representative Sample” examined details from a national survey of alcohol and substance abuse in more than 34, 000 adults, three years apart in two waves (2001-2002) and (2004-2005). In the study published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry in July 2016, it was found that people suffering from moderate or severe pain were at a 41 percent increased risk of being afflicted with prescription opioid use disorders as compared to those who were not suffering from any pain. The observations made in the study were independent of demographic and clinical factors.

During the course of the study, the scientists investigated the level of pain in each participant, based on the interference he or she faced while carrying out their daily chores, along with other factors such as prescription opioid use disorders, family history of drug use, age, gender, etc. Commenting on the findings of the study, one of the co-authors of the study Dr. Mark Olfson, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center said, “These findings indicate that adults who report moderate or more severe pain are at increased risk of becoming addicted to prescription opioids. In light of the national opioid abuse epidemic, these new results underscore the importance of developing effective, multimodal approaches to managing common painful medical conditions.”

While males and young adults were at a greater risk of being aggrieved with prescription opioid use disorders, females and older adults were more likely to experience pain. Olfson added, “In evaluating patients who present with pain, physicians should also be attentive to addiction risk factors such as age, sex, and personal or family history of drug abuse. If opioids are prescribed, it is important for clinicians to monitor their patients carefully for warning signs of opioid addiction.”

Road to recovery

It is important for people, especially parents of young adults, to keep a check on the medicines that they keep in their cabinets. Easy access to medicines at homes is one of the prime causes of prescription drug abuse, especially among teenagers.

If you or your loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse, the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline can assist you in getting the best treatment solutions from prominent prescription drug rehabilitation facilities in Florida. Chat online with our representative or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 for more information on prescription drug treatment centers in Florida.

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