Did you know that many prescription painkillers are pharmacologically almost identical to the world’s most dangerous illicit drug, heroin? If not, you’re not alone. Although past statistics indicate men are far more likely to become addicted to prescription drugs, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study reports the number of women who died from a prescription drug overdose increased 400 percent in the 11-year period ending in 2010. Here is what you need to know about the differences between painkiller addiction and pain management.
Explaining the Trend Past medical practice largely undertreated pain, prescribing addictive painkillers only to people suffering from intense illness or end-of-life pain. Over time, attitudes changed and women in the mid- to late-20th century often took Valium for stress relief. Physicians also often prescribed painkillers to women because they are more likely to suffer from chronic pain; they also take their prescriptions for longer periods of time. Combining prescription painkillers with other medicines such as Xanax or with substances such as alcohol dramatically increases the risk of overdose. The seriousness of this trend cannot be overstated for women. Not only has science proven that abusive habits escalate faster in women than in men, women also suffer more health damage from addiction than men because of their slower metabolism and higher fat-to-water ratio. Also, because women have also begun consuming more alcohol, the consequences of combining these substances all too often turn deadly.
Pain Management The challenge for addiction professionals is to treat female painkiller abusers for often legitimate pain relief while breaking them of their addiction to drugs. The Ranch PA’s multifaceted approach to detox from painkillers incorporates managing legitimate pain symptoms via holistic and medical care. First, our clients thoroughly detox from the prescription painkiller they’re abusing; this allows us to accurately diagnose a painful condition. Depending on the diagnosis, the client then begins pain management sessions using this blended approach. The goal of the codeine rehab and pain management recovery program at The Ranch PA is to restore functionality in addition to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Following inpatient rehabilitation, we create a comprehensive Aftercare program that helps our clients continue to maintain that balanced lifestyle, free from the grip of prescription painkillers. (Photo via)