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Chronic Pain Management & Addiction
Some patients who come into residential rehab treatment may have an addiction that stems from the overuse of opioids and other painkillers to treat chronic pain. Many of the drugs that are used for chronic pain have addictive potential, these include codeine, dihydrocodeine, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl and buprenorphine. Evidence shows that these medications are not the most effective way to manage chronic pain in the long term. Gabapentin and pregabalin are further medicines used to influence pain perception which have an addictive potential.
Patients addicted to drugs who also suffer from chronic pain must be shown ways to manage their condition without the use of addictive drugs. An inpatient, residential rehab programme is particularly beneficial for lasting recovery from painkiller addiction, complicated by chronic pain.
Our medical and psychiatry team will supervise detox from all addictive substances while treating chronic pain using an evidence-based approach. This will involve the use of non-drug, alternative therapies and appropriate medications if needed. In addition to this psychological therapies will address underlying issues related to each individual’s addiction and chronic pain issues.
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Treatment for Painkiller Addiction and Chronic Pain
Painkiller addiction treatment for chronic pain sufferers begins with a full medical evaluation, which includes a history of chronic pain, previous illnesses, and any past investigations undertaken. This is followed by an examination and a review of all medications by our Consultant Psychiatrist.
Our residential treatment plans are personalised to suit the individual needs of our patients. A multidisciplinary approach is best in the management of chronic pain and different team members, trained to understand and treat chronic pain, are involved in developing the treatment plan.
Detox from Painkillers
At Castle Craig, our goal is to ensure the safety of each patient and ease their physical and psychological discomfort during the painkiller detoxification process. We provide 24/7 medically monitored detox.
Withdrawal symptoms from opioid painkillers depend on each patient’s history of use, frequency and duration of use. The preferred method of detox involves tapering off painkillers by gradually decreasing the daily intake. This is the most comfortable method as the user’s system adapts slowly and withdrawal is much less severe.
Each patient is different, so the detox process is based on ongoing monitoring and management of withdrawal symptoms by the medical and nursing team until complete abstinence is achieved. Other medication may be used to help ease the withdrawal symptoms if this is approved by our Consultant Psychiatrist.
The aims of treating someone who experiences chronic pain are to:
- Manage and if possible reduce the perception of pain,
- Improve physical and emotional functioning,
- Assist in the return to daily activities free from drugs.
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Symptoms and side effects of chronic pain include:
Managing chronic pain
- Chronic pain that persists for several months or longer,
- Sleep disturbance,
- Decreased appetite,
- Limited movements lead to reduced strength, stamina and difficulty in carrying out everyday activities.
Chronic pain can usually be managed without drugs when the sufferer alters their mental perceptions of the pain and learns alternative coping strategies. At Castle Craig, we employ the following treatments to aid drug-free pain management:
- Electrical stimulation,
- CBT psychotherapy teaches coping techniques,
- Relaxation therapies,
- Gentle movement exercises using methods of yoga and tai chi which help to refocus our attention,
- Physical training helps to recondition the body and improves well-being self-esteem and confidence.
Complementary medicine approaches at Castle Craig that have proved helpful for the relief of chronic pain symptoms are:
We ensure that our patients are actively involved in the implementation of their treatment plan, making decisions along with the team about methods to reduce pain in a collaborative fashion. This pragmatic and self-managed approach to pain control is empowering.
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Addiction affects our emotions and our behaviour and chronic pain similarly impacts our brains. Chronic pain therapy engages the person in problem-solving, retrains our brains to think differently about pain and in this way to feel and function better despite a level of persistent pain.
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