Myths About Opiates and Addiction Affect Pain Management

This week, I wrote another post for HealthCentral's theme of living with pain for Pain Awareness Month. Since it is also National Recovery Month, I combined the two topics:

"You have the right to effective pain management. In fact, two years ago, the International Pain Summit in Montréal declared that it is a human right for all people to have access to pain management. In reality, many do not.

The Myths of Addiction and Pain Management
There is a myth in our society that taking painkillers means you're a bit of a wuss. We all understand that certain illnesses such as cancer can cause a great deal of pain and there is a great deal of support for terminal cancer patients getting the meds they need to deal with that. But non-cancer pain doesn't get the same kind of respect. In her recent post about opioid treatment for cancer and non-cancer pain, Karen Lee Richards speculates that this may be related to concerns about the risk of addiction. Concerns which thankfully now play less of a role in treating severe pain in people who are terminally ill. However, this brings me to the other myth in our society: that taking opioids for pain will automatically cause you to become addicted."

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