Archive for the ‘medication’ Category

Today I am in a whole new place. My mate of thirty-two years has ALS. My vital, active mate who goes out of his way to be there for kids, rescue animals and care for me, my home and my yard, may leave me. It is not fair. I am all over the place today. I am grieving, I do NOT want to live another twenty or thirty years without this man. I do not want to deal with my pain, my disease that has already forced me to give up a career and most of my life, without him. He is the only thing that made my pain, lack of life, bearable.

I want to control my own emotions to be there for him, to make it ok for him to be sick, to possibly leave me. I want to be there for my kids and grandkids to make it ok for them.

Then, faster than you can snap your fingers, I am angry. It’s not fair! He is one of the good guys. Why take him and not some drug dealing scum who settles arguments with a gun?

A few seconds later I am terrified. We owe money on the house. How will I pay for it. What about electricity, water, gas, a phone? I will have to come up with money for the property tax and I will be left without medical insurance. I am unable to work due to a central nervous system disease and relied on my mate’s income.

Then I go back to, “I don’t care about the income, I need to keep him with me.” He is a mere fifty-six years old. There are new discoveries and treatments that can fix this disease, but they are mired in Federal guidelines and paper work. Doctors are afraid to try things for fear that the government will shut them down. We need to take the hand cuffs off our medical researchers and move things forward before more people like me have to watch a loved one die too young. One group has proven that injecting a certain protein dissolves harmful protein from brain cells, reversing ALS symptoms, another shows that long-term, high doses of certain antibiotics reverse and stem symptoms. Yet one is not able to start trials on humans for another three years (what the hell) and the other is shunned because doctors could lose their privileges if they prescribe mass doses of antibiotics for off label use. Wrong, wrong and wrong. Treat these people now! If you are wrong, and the treatment is wrong, so be it, they are going to die young any how, but it is a step in the right direction.

 

 

 

I pass a mirror and gasp, surely that wasn’t my face staring back at me. If it were, it would be gray, crisscrossed with deep, black furrows cutting into the flesh and dead eyes consumed with pain the doctors can’t fix and refuse to treat. It would be tight, drawn, ugly.

My face would reflect the self-doubt clouding my mind, it would redden at the thought of my insecurities and shortcomings. It would smolder with the anger over lost careers, relationships and skills, all stolen by the pain.  A river of tears would flow over bloated cheeks, representing lonely hours, sleepless nights and a mountain of pills taken in vain.

How can that seemingly normal face staring back at me, be mine?

 

This is a repost of a study I found.

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Opioids: Addiction vs. Dependence
by Karen Lee Richards, ChronicPainConnection Expert
One of the greatest obstacles chronic pain patients face in their quest for adequate pain relief is the widespread misunderstanding of the difference between physical dependence on a drug and addiction. Many patients, the general public, and sadly even some physicians fear that anyone taking opioid medications on a long-term basis will become addicted. As a result, pain patients are often labeled as “drug seekers” and stigmatized for their use of opioid medications. Worst of all, their pain frequently remains under-treated.
Understanding the Terminology
Before we can adequately discuss this topic, it is important to clearly define the terms we will be using.
Addiction is a neurobiological disease that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. It is characterized by one or more of the following behaviors:
• Poor control over drug use
• Compulsive drug use
• Continued use of a drug despite physical, mental and/or social harm
• A craving for the drug
Physical dependence is the body’s adaptation to a particular drug. In other words, the individual’s body gets used to receiving regular doses of a certain medication. When the medication is abruptly stopped or the dosage is reduced too quickly, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms. Although we tend to think of opioids when we talk about physical dependence and withdrawal, a number of other drugs not associated with addiction can also result in physical dependence (i.e., antidepressants, beta blockers, corticosteroids, etc.) and can trigger unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly.

Tolerance is a condition that occurs when the body adapts or gets used to a particular medication, lessening its effectiveness. When that happens, it is necessary to either increase the dosage or switch to another type of medication in order to maintain pain relief.

Pseudoaddiction is a term used to describe patient behaviors that may occur when their pain is not being treated adequately. Patients who are desperate for pain relief may watch the clock until time for their next medication dose and do other things that would normally be considered “drug seeking” behaviors, such as taking medications not prescribed to them, taking illegal drugs, or using deception to obtain medications. The difference between pseudoaddiction and true addiction is that the behaviors stop when the patient’s pain is effectively treated.

Can a chronic pain patient become addicted to opioid drugs?

Although most chronic pain patients who take opioids on a long-term basis will become physically dependent on them, very few will ever become addicted to them. The rare few who do develop a problem are often highly susceptible to addiction due to a genetic predisposition. In a review of 24,000 patients who were medically prescribed opioids, only seven could be found who got into trouble with them. So a chronic pain patient becoming addicted to opioid medications is definitely the exception rather than the rule.

Opioids: Addiction vs. Dependence

How can you tell if someone is addicted to an opioid drug?
People who become addicted to opioid drugs usually report getting a feeling of euphoria or being “high.” They soon need increasing amounts of the drug to maintain that same high feeling. Unfortunately, this frequently leads to an ongoing and often desperate search for more of the drug through whatever means possible – legal or illegal.

Some behaviors that may be suggestive of possible addiction include:
• Taking medications more frequently or at higher dosages than prescribed.
• Ingesting drugs in ways other than directed, such as crushing, snorting, or injecting.
• Frequent reports of lost or stolen prescriptions.
• Doctor shopping.
• Using multiple pharmacies.

Following are some of the key differences between addicts and pain patients:
Addicts Pain Patients
Addicts take drugs to get high and avoid life Pain patients take drugs to function normally and get on with life.
Addicts isolate themselves and become lost to their families. When pain patients get adequate relief, they become active members of their families.
Addicts are unable to interact appropriately with society. When pain patients get adequate relief, they interact with and make positive contributions to society.
Addicts are eventually unable to hold down a job. When pain patients get adequate relief, they are often able to go back to work.
The life on an addict is a continuous downward spiral. When a pain patient gets adequate relief, their life progresses in a positive, upward direction.

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Sources:

The American Academy of Pain Medicine, The American Pain Society and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2001). Definitions related to the use of opioids for the treatment of pain. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from American Pain Society Web site: http://www.ampainsoc.org/advocacy/opioids2.htm
The National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction vs Dependence. Retrieved December 1, 2008 from Our Chronic Pain Mission Web site: http://www.cpmission.com/main/addiction.html
© Karen Lee Richards 2008
Updated 12/1/2008