What You Should Know About Opioid Dependence

What You Should Know About Opioid Dependence

Published: March 29, 2019

Prescription opioids are intended to help relieve pain in patients. Unfortunately, sometimes a referral to opioid medication leads to dependence or addiction. It can be difficult to find the right method of management for those living with pain. As opioid dependence grows, it presents as a dangerous option for pain management. In this blog, we’ll talk about what you need to know about opioid dependence, including its definition, statistics, and ways to mitigate risk when it comes to prescription opioids. If you are looking for an alternative way to manage pain, speaking with Texas pain specialists at the offices Dr. Raul Martinez will provide a game plan for tackling pain. With three offices located in the San Antonio area, you’ll be able to find the appropriate approach to managing your pain without having to travel far.

Opioid Dependence Defined

Opioid dependence is different than addiction. In order to understand the differences, here’s a brief list demonstrating opioid dependence vs addiction:

  • Physical Dependence: The body relies on the opioids to avoid withdrawal; it is predictable and easier to manage, frequently resulting in tapering off the medication.
  • Addiction: Classified as a disease, includes uncontrollable cravings and compulsive use; the user will continue their use even if it harms others. There is a change in brain chemistry with addiction.

It is important to note that addiction can occur without physical dependence, and physical dependence can occur without addiction. Addiction and dependence can be lumped together and is generally known as opioid use disorder. Opioid use disorder is classified as someone experiencing two or more symptoms, such as:

  • Craving, or a strong desire to use opioids
  • Important social, recreational, educational, etc. events missed due to the use of opioids
  • Recurrent use resulting in the failure to perform work, school, or social duties
  • Substance taken to avoid withdrawal

Unfortunately, patients coping with chronic pain are at risk for forming a dependence on prescription opioids. To learn more about the statistics, read on.

Prescription Opioid Statistics

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids for pain management misuse them.  Additionally, 80% of heroin users first began with prescription opioids. The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that in 2015, there were 2 million that suffered a substance abuse disorder in those 12 and older. There were over 100 opioid-related deaths in the San Antonio Area that same year.

What you should know about opioid dependence is that it is a rapidly spreading epidemic. The mistreatment of prescription opioids is dangerous and contributes to the outpour of dependence and addictions. Opioid dependence in chronic pain patients can, unfortunately, be a gateway to further opioid misuse. Those who experience chronic pain are not limited to opioids. There are alternative ways to manage pain.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Here are some risk factors that may make you more susceptible to opioid dependence:

  • Obtaining overlapping prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Taking a daily high dosage
  • Having a mental illness or a history of addiction and drug or alcohol abuse
  • Living in a rural areas and having low income

If you are at risk, here are ways to help mitigate dependence:

  • Talk with your doctor and know your options
  • Follow up regularly with your doctor
  • Take and store your medication safely; do not take more than the prescribed dosage
  • Do not give or sell any of your medication to friends or family
  • Consider seeking a pain control clinic

Consulting with a Texas pain management specialist will help determine alternative options, resulting in conservative pain management. What you should know about opioid dependence is that the risk can be avoided by seeking alternative methods of pain management. A conservative pain management system includes ways to help control the source of the pain in addition to the feeling as well. If you are concerned about opioid use as a way to manage your pain, speak to a doctor today.

What to Do Next

If you are concerned about opioid dependence as a chronic pain patient, then contact the office of Dr. Raul Martinez. There are various treatment options offered, ensuring that you will receive the best possible care. We offer injections, surgical, and non-surgical routes to help alleviate the pain you are experiencing. With a highly trained and professional staff, you can confidently receive your treatment. Furthermore, with three San Antonio locations, you’ll be sure to find an office close to you. Don’t let opioid misuse control your pain, speak to a professional today.

Contact us at (210) 441-4333.

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