This has been a really common situation across the country over the past few years, and many people across the country have called the Coleman Network for help.
It is crucial to understand the difference between addiction and physical dependence. Addiction is continued use despite adverse consequences. Physical dependence is the physical condition caused by chronic use of a tolerance-creating drug, in which withdrawal causes unpleasant physical symptoms.
Long Term Pain Medication Use
A person who has been treated for a long time with opioid pain medications like Roxicet®, Vicodin®, Percocet®, fentanyl or any other members of the opiate family will almost always experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop their medicine. Similarly, people who take illegal opioids like heroin experience severe withdrawal if they have used long enough to develop physical dependence.
The physicians across the country who have partnered with the Coleman Network to bring the Coleman Method to their communities have a real passion for treating people with Substance Use Disorders.
Physical Dependence Does Not Mean Drug Abuse
Notably, many of our patients are not drug abusers at all. They have just developed a tolerance to their medicines…and many are being told by their doctors they will no longer provide pain management services using opiates.
My patients have told me about a feeling of being left without options, or being given a list of potential prescribers only to discover a lengthy waiting period. Others have told me that they found a new doctor whose office then suddenly closed without any explanation or way to contact the physician, which left them struggling to avoid severe withdrawal.
“Bad guys are messing it up for the rest of us,” a patient told me. “I have always been compliant with my pain management program, but my pain management doctor’s office is treating me like a criminal. It’s like they think I’m going to sell my medication instead of taking it!”
Tough Calls By Pain Management Doctors
Why is this happening for patients who have never had a ‘dirty’ urine, never sold their medication, never missed an appointment, and–even more significantly—have a chronic pain condition? Why are these patients being cut off from their pain medicine?
Physicians who prescribe controlled substances for pain management are being closely monitored to make sure they abide by strict protocols. It is well known that over-prescribing by doctors contributed to criminal diversion of prescription opioids, accelerating the opioid epidemic. Prescribing controlled substances for pain has become a massive liability for many well-meaning physicians (and hopefully for the malevolent prescribers), as well as a nightmare of complicated documentation.
At the same time research continues to support the once unimaginable concept that just maybe, opioids are not the optimal treatment for someone with chronic pain conditions.
Life Without Pain Medication Is Possible
For chronic pain patients who find themselves cut off by their pain management doctor, the Coleman Network offers an opportunity for a fresh start and to see what the reality of No Opioids means. We do this in a discreet, safe, and compassionate outpatient setting. Our patients have their loved ones stay by their sides and participate as we guide them through a fast and relatively comfortable opioid detox.
After years of being on prescription opioids, many of our patients complete their detox program in 4-8 days, depending on the type and dosage of their medications, as well as any other medical conditions they may have.
A surprisingly high proportion of these patients, who had been completely convinced they needed to be on long-term pain medication, have discovered that it isn’t true.
Many patients find that they are more than able to tolerate the physical sensations they experience after their detox. And they continue to feel better as their bodies have the chance to create their own dopamine again. Our bodies were built to handle a certain degree of pain.
Losing a prescriber for pain medications evokes fear and frustration, and drives some people to compromise their integrity by buying opioids illegally to keep from withdrawing.
There is a good alternative.
Please give us a call if you have fallen into this situation and would like to discuss the possibility of experiencing the freedom of never having to worry about taking pain medications again.
Joan R. Shepherd, FNP