The Truth about Pain Meds

The Truth about Pain Meds

When you have a serious health condition, you will find yourself overwhelmed by decisions. Boundaries are made of yeses and noes and it is hard to know if one medical option is a yes or no for you, if you don’t have enough information.

I want you to be the best medical advocate for yourself and your family when it comes to pain medication.

 In my book, Maggie is married to someone who has lost much of the quality of his life to pain medication. Though all the characters in my book are invented, the truth is that I have some experience seeing the devastating impact of chronic use of pain medication. I’m a therapist. I am not a doctor and I don’t prescribe pain medication. I have a limited point of view, from 28 years experience working with people as a therapist. I have extensive experience helping people recover from depression. I’ve worked collaboratively with medical professionals and people with chronic health issues.

Very few people seem to be aware that long-term use of pain medication causes depression. For people who were struggling with depression before ever being prescribed pain meds, their depression will become much worse and much harder to recover from.

If you are severely depressed and taking pain medication, you can’t recover from depression while taking pain medication. We have to get you off the pain meds first.

Any time you are prescribed anything, it is a good idea to find out if there is any link to depression from the medication.

When you have chronic health issues, serious life style adjustments must be made. It can be very hard for people to wrap their lives around the healthcare that they need. Psychotherapists can help people adjust to the changes and work with the grief that can come from the many adjustments needed.

When pain meds are prescribed, other therapies should always be prescribed. Some examples may include: physical therapy, acupuncture, meditation classes, chiropractor, and massage. If your doctor has not prescribed these things, you must ask for them.

I have also seen doctors prescribe massage or physical therapy, and people refuse to follow through, or they go for awhile and stop. If you have chronic pain, you may need the support and guidance of physical therapy to move what you can move.

Do not believe everything you read online about pain medication. I have been reading things online from very popular websites and I am shocked about what is not being said about the dangers of the medications and the relationship to depression.

I also do not see mention or warnings about suicide risks. Yes, people can become suicidal while on pain medication. While they are taking the medication as prescribed, and they are not feeling the physical pain, some people have become so depressed they have killed themselves.

Ask your doctor for the safest way to use the medication prescribed. 
Be open to alternatives and things that help bring peace of mind such as yoga, Qigong or meditation. Look into somatic therapy, hydro- therapy, and find people to work with that help you feel comfortable and safe.
Work with a therapist for extra support and to help monitor your emotional wellbeing.  
 Anyone taking pain medication for extended time needs support finding as much wellbeing as possible, one day at a time. There may be medications, or alternatives to pain medications that are helpful to you. Ask about what else you can try to see if it is effective enough for you.

In the face of chronic health issues, sometimes people feel defeated. It may not feel possible to follow through on the supportive therapies and classes that can help. A great amount of encouragement and assistance may be needed to get someone to take steps beyond pain medication. This can be a challenge for the entire family. It may help to have the whole family learn ways to encourage and support the person to make the lifestyle adjustments that must be made. Some people find relief in art and music, and spiritual development.

I have seen the greatest outcomes for people who have become "seekers" and been willing try anything.