THE CORRELATION BETWEEN PAIN AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS
Pain can be a cause and result of substance use disorders. When undiagnosed and untreated, pain may lead people to self-medicate. Whether patients become dependent upon prescribed pain medications, alcohol, or use illicit drugs to sooth pain symptoms, sources of pain must be diagnosed and addressed to eliminate the causes.
Recent media attention about substance use disorders, and the surrounding epidemic regarding it, focuses mainly on people becoming dependent upon prescribed opioid pain medications and being unable to discontinue their use. While pain medications are relatively easy to prescribe, diagnosing and treating the causes of underlying pain may take time and various medical interventions. Many of those who misuse pain medications, and other substances, never received the care needed to solve the underlying sources of physical pain. Substance use disorders can also make pain symptoms worse.
The Futures’ pain track is designed to diagnose and treat the underlying causes of pain that contribute to and exacerbate substance use disorders. The track incorporates specialized physical therapy and fitness, cognitive behavioral therapy, graduated narcotic detoxification, and nutritional meal planning.
MULTIPLE COMPONENTS TO ACHIEVING WELLNESS
Our interdisciplinary team works in collaboration to address pain from all angles. Futures Recovery Healthcare wellness, medical and clinical staff work hand-in-hand on identifying problems areas, a treatment plan and what steps someone can take in their recovery to minimize pain, find healthy and enjoyable activities and remain substance-free.
Our clinical team incorporates Cognitive Behavior Therapy, concepts of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Hypnotherapy and sleep hygiene into treatment planning.
PHYSICAL THERAPY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS: Specialized exercise and fitness programming teaches patients how to self-manage pain through healthy exercise. Flexibility and strengthening exercises are used to provide long-term relief and give individuals the training they need to reduce their pain symptoms naturally. Patients receiving specialized treatment for pain are helped to align physical therapy, fitness, massage, yoga, and other resources as part of ongoing care before discharge.
DETOXIFICATION: Specialized, graduated detoxification led by Futures’ psychiatrist Dr. Gloria Dunkin, helps patients slowly and steadily taper off of the use of narcotic and opioid medications and other substances. Graduated medically-supervised detoxification is especially crucial to pain patients dependent upon opioid medicines. The process ensures a safer path to stabilization and helps to reduce the discomfort associated with withdraw. Futures’ detoxification center is staffed 24 hours-per-day by experienced nurses and practitioners.
MINDFULNESS: Mindfulness allows for patients to focus in the present moment on their body and mind. With practice, the patient can let go of the past and remain in the here and now. Through exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep diaphragmatic breathing and guided imagery, mindfulness has been effective in reducing anxiety, agitation, improving sleep issues and depression. Pain can exacerbate emotions and symptoms and these emotions and symptoms can contribute to more pain. Mindfulness can be used at any time in any place or space, which makes it one of the easiest skills to utilize.
HYPNOTHERAPY: Hypnosis is used to create a state of focused attention and increased suggestibility during which positive suggestions and guided imagery are used to help individuals deal with emotional dysregulation, symptoms of addiction (including post-acute withdrawal), mental health conditions and chronic pain. In the hypnotic state an individual can easily make positive changes because the self-conscious mind is more open to suggestions. Patients with chronic pain can utilize hypnotherapy to enter into a relaxed state of mind and manage feelings surrounding pain.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY (CBT): CBT is a commonly used therapeutic philosophy to effectively treat several disorders, including pain. CBT allows patients to develop coping skills, so they can change their thinking, emotions and behaviors. Through individual and group therapy, patients have the ability to define pain, the physical and emotional aspects and the underlying sources. Patients are introduced to practices they can carry into their recovery- physical therapy, exercises, somatic skills, mindfulness, hypnotherapy and progressive muscle relaxation. They are able to develop an aftercare plan that can support sobriety and manage their pain without resorting back to dependence on substances.
NUTRITION: Nutrition and diet can play a role in reducing pain. Futures’ pain patients receive individualized care to educate and develop meal planning skills that reduce inflammation and add to improved health.