Dealing With Pain

 

 

 

What drove you to begin using drugs?  Were you trying to fit in?  Perhaps you were looking for a thrill of some kind.  Naturally, drugs provided a feeling of euphoria or excitement.  Some people claim that they can think more clearly when they are high.  Many people begin using drugs medically to manage chronic pain.  Whatever the particular reason, most people begin using drugs because they like the way they feel when they are using.  Unfortunately, drugs are actually a trap, not an escape.

The problem is that whatever enjoyable result they initially received by using drugs fades quickly, requiring the user to increase the amount of the drug they are taking in order to get the same result.  This is the primary reason why victims of addiction progress to stronger and stronger drugs.  Smaller doses increase to higher doses; pills increase to injections; and a point is quickly reached where the victim of addiction is using drugs not because they get a feeling of euphoria but just to escape pain.

A good example is opioids.  A person might start by using a small dose of medication in order to alleviate pain from surgery.  Before long, they need a stronger dose to alleviate their pain.  As the time goes by, they switch to stronger opioids such as fentanyl or even illegal drugs such as heroin.  The victim of addiction eventually moves on from taking pills to injecting drugs directly into the bloodstream.  There is actually a neurological reason for this.  Opioids mimic the brain’s own neurochemicals that a part of the brain’s reward system, especially serotonin and dopamine.  The brain, however, quickly adapts.  As more opioids enter the brain, it responds by lowering the impact of its own neurochemicals and of the opioids.  As the brain makes this adjustment, more of the chemicals are required to achieve the same result.  This is why victims of addiction use increasing amounts of opioids, because lower amounts are no longer as effective as they used to be. Nobody likes pain.  It’s no surprise that people are using drugs to alleviate their suffering.

The problem is that the use of addictive chemicals to alleviate pain brings its own kind of suffering.  In addition, the brain’s ability to adjust its response to pain-relieving chemicals makes it more difficult to alleviate pain.  In addition, the brain is able to create a kind of illusory pain in order to get the chemical it has become addicted to.  It is essential that people learn other ways to manage pain that do not involve the use of addictive chemicals.

Here’s a link to a website with information about managing chronic pain:  http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/11-tips-for-living-with-chronic-pain#1

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