A nationwide survey of alcohol and substance abuse uncovered that chronic pain oftentimes plays a big role in why individuals begin to abuse opioids. The study revealed that individuals with chronic pain are 41 percent more likely to develop prescription opioid use disorders or to become addicted to opioids, according to the new report.
For their study, researchers looked at reported opioid use disorders and demographic factors, including age, gender, family history and other behavioral factors in more than 34,000 adults. The data was collected in two segments over a three-year period.
“These findings indicate that adults who report moderate or more severe pain are at increased risk of becoming addicted to prescription opioids,” explained Mark Olfson, Professor, Columbia University Medical Center in the US. “In evaluating patients with pain, physicians should also be attentive to addiction risk factors such as age, sex and personal or family history of drug abuse.”
Who’s At Risk?
After examining the results, researchers uncovered:
- While men or younger adults remain the ones at higher risk for these disorders, women and older adults who became addicted to opioids are observably the ones who also reported chronic pain.
- Participants who reported chronic pain with prescription opioid use disorders were also those concurrently suffering from mood and anxiety disorders.
Researchers concluded by saying that the results show physicians need to be more aware of the opioids they’re prescribing and to whom they are prescribing them to. They believe enhanced monitoring of some patients at greater risk for abuse can help prevent people from abusing opioids.
Prescription pain pills can certainly help provide relief for patients with chronic pain, but they should never be viewed as a solution. Exercises, physical therapy and even some surgeries can help provide temporary and permanent relief. Instead of managing pain, we need to keep treating it and solving the problems.