The assessment and management of pain can be very complex that the whole process of managing and living with the pain could be very difficult to some people and health care professionals. The goal of administering pain medications is to alleviate pain and suffering, enhance movement, and to enable a person to do his activities of daily living.
What is Pain?
Pain is subjective and involves complex physiological and psychological responses that vary from one person to another. Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue injury, pr described in terms of such injury. It varies from person to person with relation to cultural background, anticipation of pain, perception of pain, and previous experiences of pain. It also involves mental, emotional and cognitive responses, as well as physical responses.
Pain medications are effective in treating pain when administered in the right amount or dosage and in the right time or frequency. All drugs have side-effects aside from their therapeutic effects. Many pain medications have been used by abusive people.
There can be a long list of barriers to pain management and providing care for a patient who has pain can be both challenging and rewarding.
Pain Medication Addiction
Providing care for a patient who has pain and addiction can be very challenging. Addiction is often times seen as a weakness or as a direct effect of a particular substance, say marijuana, for example. There are negative social, cultural, and medical views about addiction and is often regarded as taboo. Pain is subjective and health care providers should always try to address the patient’s addiction and his pain management needs at the same time. Any person, regardless of being on pain medication addiction, is entitled to the same quality of health care. How complex it is.
While some people may have symptoms of pain medication abuse, a lot of people may be reluctant to receive pain treatment in the fear of being addicted to the pain medication prescribed. This may add to the anxiety of a patient experiencing pain. Sometimes, even medical practitioners are afraid or have overestimated the risk of patients in becoming addicted to opioid analgesics. This may result to untreated pain. This is the same reason why assessment techniques such as using pain scales and inventories are being formulated and standardized by international health accreditation councils to properly manage pain.
Symptoms of Pain Medication Abuse
1. Increased drug tolerance – A person who is abusing a drug or pain medication may have increased usage and frequency of intake. This is usually due to tolerance. Addiction involves increasing the drug dosage overtime because when a person reaches tolerance, the effects (therapeutic or abusive) of the drug may no longer provide relief.
2. Social Withdrawal – Drug abuse is taboo in so many cultures and places around the world. A person may withdraw with support systems such as family, friends, workmates, or even the society because of feelings of inept and low self-esteem. People who cares about you wouldn’t want you to be an addict.
3. Changes in Personality – Changes in moods, energy, activities of daily living are greatly affected with the result of being addicted to a certain drug
4. Changes in Physical Appearance – A person who is addicted may have changes in the way they look. Usual signs are red, glazed eyes, unkempt hair and clothing, diminished personal hygiene, failing weight, fatigability, disturbed sleeping pattern, which could lead to insomnia, and disturbed eating pattern, which could also lead to anorexia.
5. Absence from Responsibilities – An addict could be a professional bummer and would love to do nothing at all and get high. He or she may neglect on responsibilities at home, school, or at work. Failing school grades and calling in sick too often at work could be signs.
6. Failing memory – forgetfulness could also be a sign since the effects of drug addiction could affect mental health and capacity. A person may suffer mental blackouts or short term memory loss due to preoccupation with pain medications.
7. Denial – a person who is suffering pain medication abuse will definitely deny the addicting situation that he is going through. He or she may make up stories just to get pain medication prescriptions or seek medical institutions because of pain medication neediness. He may also hide the medications in the fear of being caught on act taking it or just by the mere possession of it.
8. Manipulative Personality – The person may manipulate someone and may be good in negotiating to get drug prescriptions or find ways to force someone to give a drug in his desired dosage and frequency.