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Road Blocks To Adequate Pain Management

The Addiction Myth

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Many patients, and even some doctors, fear that taking narcotic drugs to control pain will lead to addiction. This fear prevents many pain sufferers from receiving the proper care. However, studies indicate that addiction to narcotic pain medication that is used for medical reasons is rare for people with no prior history of substance abuse. Most pain medications don’t produce a “high.” They merely relieve pain.

In one study of over 12,000 medical records, only four cases of narcotic dependency produced by medical treatment were found.

According to the National Cancer Institute, addiction is defined as “dependence on the regular use of narcotics to satisfy physical, emotional, and psychological needs rather than for medical reasons.” It is also a chronic relapsing condition which is generally characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse.

Even a predisposition to addiction doesn’t mean you will necessarily become addicted to pain medicine.

Pain relief is a medical reason for taking narcotics. Therefore, if you take narcotics to relieve your pain, you are not an “addict” no matter how much or how often you take narcotic medicines.

If you and your doctor decide that narcotics are a proper choice for your pain relief, use them as directed. The fear of addiction should not prevent you from using narcotics to effectively relieve your pain.

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