Archives for October, 2010

Addiction

Try A Little Harder

Like many people with opioid dependence, I did not progress to a severity of illness where I decided that I needed addiction treatment.  It would have been less burdensome for my family, of course, had I come to such a realization.  But I needed stronger ‘encouragement,’ in the form of life falling apart and having nowhere to turn, except treatment.
The nature of opioid dependence leads the addict to cling to the illusion of...
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Legal

Over-Prescribing: I Know It When I See It

I've described the gray area between appropriate treatment of chronic pain using opioid medications, versus deliberate or accidental over-prescribing of narcotics for patients who don't need them.  In many cases, the decision whether the prescribing is justified depends on who is making the determination.

There are clearly physicians who act too aggressively at increasing dosages of narcotics, and there are clearly patients who are too careless in their use of addictive medications.  At the same time, there...
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Addiction

Late to the party?

Addiction has historically been viewed not as an illness, but instead as either the personal choice to engage in bad behavior or a lack of self-control over intoxicants.  But a growing body of research has demonstrated that genetic and neurochemical factors play large roles in substance dependence.

Increased understanding of the science of addiction has led to a new way to thinking and speaking about substance dependence, for example...
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Addiction

Drugs of the Decades

Over the past fifty years, a period of time that sometimes seems like only a blink of the eye, a number of different substances have held the position of society’s most-favored drug of choice.

Some substances have been more popular in one group of people...
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Addiction

Secrets Keep Us Sick

I’ve shared a small amount of information about my own addiction to opioids. My addiction started in the early 1990s after I took codeine for a lingering cough from a respiratory infection. As an aside, codeine is converted to morphine by the liver, a metabolic process that varies in efficiency from one individual to another.

Some people obtain little pain relief from codeine because of the lack of conversion to morphine.  Unfortunately, some...
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Addiction

Not THAT Bad

In earlier posts, I provided background for a problem that has captured headlines in recent years, namely the problem of addiction to opioid pain medication. My reason for providing background was to make clear that addiction to opioids is not a problem confined to...
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