Severe or chronic pain patients in the US are growing at an alarming rate. A recent news report said a whopping 25% of all Americans suffer from chronic pain. This is usually musculoskeletal or nerve pain and what makes this so difficult for doctors to treat is that pain is subjective. There are no instruments to validate severity and because it’s really what the patient tells them – trouble can easily follow.
Opioids (both synthetic and natural) are most commonly used and of course is where the most danger exists in addiction epidemic that our nation faces today. Pain pills like Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin are prescribed for neck aches to toothaches to migraines. In 2007, 11,499 people died from synthetic opioid (pain pills) overdoses of this type of pain medication. That is more than heroin and all other addictions combined for that year.
What happens when they become addicted and later want to get off these meds? I have seen this question asked for 66 year old ladies to 16 year old boys. Traditional rehabs in the US will tell them that they now have a disease. But is it really? Just because they became dependent and emotionally got caught up in the euphoria that opiates produce – is this enough to really label someone with an incurable disease?
Non 12 step drug rehab programs are increasingly popular today because they do not subscribe to the idea that such a disease exists. Instead non 12 step rehab therapy focuses on addressing the source of the addiction, both physical and freeing the person from their addictive behavior. Non 12 step drug rehab can take longer than traditional 30 day rehabs but isn’t that better than a life of AA or NA meetings? Count me in.