Medical professionals are understandably worried about the direct mental effects of substance abuse and overuse on our mental health. However, there can be long-term effects, some of which can lead to higher levels of pain.
What are the links between substance abuse and pain?
There are several concerns when it comes to substance abuse and pain treatment. In the case of painkiller abuse, a chronic pain condition can lead to increased dependency on medications, especially opioids. In other cases, pain can occur during attempts at withdrawal or even as a result of an accident.
But, does substance abuse in and of itself cause pain? While it is commonly linked to psychological symptoms, we should also understand the ways in which it can manifest as physical pain.
Physical effects of substance abuse
The most common physical manifestation of substance abuse is sleeplessness or insomnia. Not having a proper sleep schedule can lead to specific pain conditions such as low back pain and migraine headaches. Thus, the cycle continues as addicted individuals will continue to use the substance to feel better physically while they are awake.
Long-term use of some substances can also cause permanent changes or damage in the brain. This can lead to a variety of pain conditions, seizures, and even death. Some drugs cause problems with the digestive system leading to abdominal pain.
When this type of abuse manifests in physical pain symptoms it may often go unnoticed because of the psychological effects. Many specialists today understand that if they do not treat all related conditions the probability of relapse is significantly higher. For instance, an abuser who is experiencing chronic back pain is likely to revert back to using drugs to find relief rather than seeking proper medical attention.
Another possible cause of chronic pain in relation to substance abuse is the potential for accidents. For example, driving a car while intoxicated can lead to an automobile accident that results in long term chronic pain conditions, such as back or neck pain.
Are you concerned about substance abuse and pain in your life or with someone you care about?