The newest tidal wave of chemical addiction is called 'Iatrogenic disease.' It occurs when a potential addict takes pain pills after surgery or injury and becomes addicted. Then, the doctor cuts them off which leaves them with an uncontrollable itch that only an opiod will scratch. To the least informed among us, they are labeled as having a 'moral issue or weakness.'
Any human can get tripped up by addiction. Those chemical hooks do not care. They arrived at birth poised to strike inside 10% of us and they are fierce. Passed down genetically through the generations, current addicts are poorly served by keeping it a secret.
"Why do not they just stop?" "They did it to themselves." We are judging the addict to death, literally. About 70 years ago, the AMA-American Medical Association-declared alcoholism a disease. It sure was not treated like one. Monitored? Researched? Forums held? It was the black sheep of the medical disorder list.
Pull up a breast cancer website. It is all pink and pretty with hopeful messages on t-shirts during fun runs. Then, check out some of the drug rehab sites: handcuffs, an empty whiskey bottle and a skull and crossbones. A very different tone. No one was 'running for their cure.'
People with lung cancer are not shamed for smoking. Did a diabetic's chosen diet cause the imbalance? Self-mutilators? They're known to suffer from a brain disorder and not blamed. The medical community and all the pharmaceutical companies have done the addict / alcoholic a MONSTER-SIZED disservice. Addiction has now claimed more lives than any war to date!
Treating prescription drug addiction is very different than heroin or alcohol. Today, they are usually treated together and handed the 'big book' of Alcoholics Anonymous and a list of meetings.The majorities are introduced to the "Twelve Steps." Medication are frowned upon.
Physicians once treated chronic pain patients with escalating doses of opiates. The results for many was development of complications, drug dependence and limited improvement. It was the only solution offered and then patients were left to figure out addiction by watching it happen.To break this pattern, a unique profile must be developed for the chronic pain patient and better tools for the management of both addiction and pain need to be explored.
Chronic pain patients present a challenge to doctors for several reasons including ongoing pain complaints, fear of activity and a higher incidence of untreated psychological issues. Pain should be treated as a multi-layered condition. Some patients need help from different sources, not just a medical man who either says yes or no to a prescription.
Drug addiction and dependence are very controversial. Over time, they have been the subject of much debate in the development of criteria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible of the psychology world.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as "a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease with genetic, psycho-social, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations."
Impaired control over use, compulsive use, continued use durable harm, and desires are the hallmarks of dependence. "Chemical Use Disorder" involves a physiological dependence composed of tolerance and / or withdrawal symptoms.
Unlike addiction to non-prescription drugs (eg alcohol, cocaine, heroin), Iatrogenic disease requires a doctor's help to kick into gear. Today, that same doctor should educate himself himself thoroughly and seek out new treatments.
There are new drugs on the market that decrease cravings, help battle the horrors of withdrawal and one may even 'vaccinate' against heroin. With it, the user will not get a 'high. "These are strictly used and slowly developed.
There is an old and tired idea about not using drugs to treat drugs but it is better than burying so many until we figure out an answer. At least new meds can keep some alive while we come up with something better than a treatment written in 1939 that has not changed a word since.
It is time to try to bring the new drugs into use and safely start human trials. If Europe is having success with Baclofen, China with Kudzu, Africa with Ibogaine, why could not we be open to new ideas as soon as possible?