Treating People with Opioid Dependence
Trending in the news today is the issue of opioids. Aside from opioid abuse, there is a much bigger problem that is facing the medical community: dependence on opioids. While they may alleviate pain symptoms, opioids can become addictive, which may result in future complications such as an overdose. Let’s take a look at the top challenges facing doctors and patients with opioid use.
One of the primary issues is that there is no universal guideline to follow when prescribing a specific dosage for opioids. Doctors walk a fine line as patients teeter between pain relief and substance addiction.
Another challenge that doctors face is the intentional abuse of opioids. Patients coming into the office with chronic pain symptoms but having no real issues. This makes it difficult to prescribe opioids to those who truly need them to better manage their pain.
Although it may be difficult for those suffering from chronic pain to accept, there are other non-opioid treatments available. These treatments are effective and, most importantly, will not lead to an addiction as is possible with opioids. Depending on the level of pain and history of drug addiction, doctors can combine opioids with alternative methods for a multidisciplinary approach.
As mentioned above, there are several highly effective ways to treat pain without the use of opioids. Here are several methods to consider if you are a doctor or patient:
- Anti-epileptic drugs
- Anti-arrhythmic drugs
- Psychological therapy
- Physical therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation therapy
- Spinal cord nerve stimulation
Sometimes opioids are the only solution for those who suffer from addiction. If this is the case, many doctors will use buprenorphine and methadone. They will prescribe a specific combination of pain alleviating ingredients and monitor the patient’s quality of life. In response, the doctor will adjust the levels to ensure maximum benefits without complications from addiction.