Vitamins and Clean Living
Dr. Barry Goodman, DO
Southwestern US Real Estate Investment Manager
Another rush job for a quick blog. Hey doc, can you write a bit about narcotic addiction? Oh, yes, let's just whip off a couple of paragraphs and cover the whole gambit. Not a chance. But I'll try to go over how complicated pain control and narcotic addiction can be to manage.
Pain, to a point serves a purpose. Stop walking on that leg, it's broken, that's why it hurts. Get off that nail. Stop walking and rest, you're having a heart attack. Stop hitting your head against the wall, it's a dumb thing to do since it hurts.
Once the message is received then pain turns into suffering. One of our missions in medicine is to reduce suffering. So we try different methods to control the pain. We try to change the anatomy. Put the fracture into a cast, pull the disc away from the pinched nerve, sew up the laceration. We try medication to stop the inflammatory process which fires off the nerves in the first place (ibuprofen and Tylenol). However when all else fails, we try to block the nerves from conducting pain by using narcotics. This includes Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet, Morphine, Dilaudid, Heroin, Nubain, and other drugs.
The narcotics, when used to the point of relieving pain, usually do not cause a huge amount of problems. But, since they also have affects on the brain we begin to run into problems when the narcotics are used for euphoria, instead of pain relief, quite a thin line.
Some folks simply start off taking narcotics just for the euphoric affect, “I like them.” Heroin users, heavy drinkers, and other drug users will simply add them to their menu. Once in a while though, someone who starts the narcotics for genuine pain control becomes addicted to the euphoria. They search out the drugs not for just controlling their pain, but beyond that to “get a buzz.”
The “Accidental Addict” in some ways becomes a greater problem then the one who starts out with the goal of abuse. The AA does not perceive themselves as an addict nor do those around them. The AA might be a police officer, soldier or some other “macho” type who finds himself in the embarrassing position of being dependent on pills which now drive their life. Getting them to realize they're in trouble and seek help can be extremely difficult. Like the alcoholic they might make up euphemisms for their habit, they're not taking drugs, they're taking vitamins.
Treatment takes time, there is a withdrawal process for the physical dependence and it makes future pain extremely difficult to manage.
At the Barry Goodman, DO clinic we have specialist in addiction who are available for consultations in this area. If you have any concerns for yourself or others we encourage you to visit us for evaluation and counseling.