What Role Do Injuries Play in Addiction?

Have you ever had a car accident or sports injury? Were you ever prescribed painkillers or other strong medications to manage the pain of that injury or surgery? Do you now find yourself dependent on that substance and struggling to break free from the addiction? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you know well the role injuries play in the development of substance use disorder (SUD). You may even be seeking treatment, which NorthStar Transitions can offer. 

Nobody willingly decides to become dependent on drugs and alcohol. Situations put individuals in vulnerable positions that lead them to substance use, and depending on many factors, they fall victim to this disease. However, some scenarios seem so innocent that you would never dream they may lead to SUD. That includes physical injuries. Understanding these dangers and being vigilant about your use of prescriptions can help you avoid SUD and find alternative and longer-lasting pain management methods. 

How Physical Injuries Can Lead to Addiction

A physical injury can be life-changing for individuals who are active, athletic, and always on the move. However, even individuals who maybe lead more sedentary lives experience extreme adverse effects from physical injury. For example, injuries play a role when they are so debilitating that a person can not function day-to-day. Simple daily tasks such as getting out of bed, making a meal, or going to work become roadblocks that impair the overall quality of life. 

Typical injuries people experience on any given day may include a sprained ankle, cut or bruise, and joint injuries. However, these tend to be easily treatable through rest, quick first-aid, or over-the-counter pain medications. More intense injuries, like bone fractures, spinal injuries, or conditions that cause chronic discomfort, require more serious interventions. Any damage that causes you to experience severe pain for prolonged periods may lead doctors to prescribe opioids. 

Prescription opioids are safe under medical supervision. However, many patients misuse and become dependent on them. This perpetuates the cycle of addiction post-injury and causes many unforeseen consequences. 

Do Physical Injuries Play a Role in Prescription Opioid Addictions?

The American opioid epidemic has been a growing concern for decades as many continue to become dependent on opioids for many reasons. One of those many potential reasons includes physical injury.  

Prescription drugs include several substances commonly misused, including painkillers, benzodiazepines, and stimulants. Unfortunately, physical injuries increase the likelihood of someone developing a prescription opioid addiction. One example we see time and time again is with student-athletes. 

Students in college – and many times even high school – experience a sport-related injury. Doctors prescribe opioids to manage the pain or post-op if the injury requires surgery. This, unfortunately, leads many young people to develop SUD, and when they can no longer obtain the prescription, they ultimately look elsewhere. Nevertheless, prescription opioid addiction impacts a wide demographic, which is why recognizing its signs is vital. 

What Are the Signs of a Prescription Opioid Addiction?

To seek treatment for a prescription opioid addiction, you must first be able to recognize the signs. Some of those signs include: 

  • Taking medications in a way other than prescribed
  • Failure to fulfill day-to-day responsibilities at work or home 
  • Spending more time trying to obtain prescription opioids 
  • Turning to other drugs when unable to acquire prescriptions 
  • Experiencing a high tolerance and requiring a higher dose to feel the same effect 
  • An inability to stop using and experiencing withdrawal symptoms 
  • Experiencing recurrent financial, social, and personal problems because of substance use 
  • Continued opioid use despite your knowledge of adverse effects and dangers 
  • Employing unethical methods to obtain prescription opioids, such as stealing or doctor shopping 
  • Using drugs in dangerous situations, such as when driving a car or taking care of children 

For individuals whose physical injuries cause long-term, chronic pain, living a life free of prescription opioids seems impossible. However, it is possible with the proper support, resources, and interventions. 

What Role Do Injuries Play in Long-Term Pain Management?

Many injuries play a role in causing long-term, chronic pain. Pulled muscles, back sprains, never damage, or lingering effects from complex surgeries cause many to experience long-term pain. They think the easiest way to manage that pain is by taking a pill of some kind, but this mindset can lead to dependency. Instead, individuals must find alternative ways to manage their chronic pain.   

Some methods that can help with long-term pain management include: 

  • Relaxation techniques 
  • Mediation 
  • Biofeedback 
  • Hypnosis 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Seeing a chiropractor
  • Herbal medicines 
  • Supplements 
  • Nutrition and appropriate exercise 
  • Other alternative therapies, like music and art therapy

Alternative pain management is possible. If you are in recovery from SUD but struggling to manage your pain from past injuries, speak with your doctor about alternative treatment.

Not everyone who experiences a physical injury develops SUD, but it is possible. We must trust our doctors, but we should also be prudent and cautious about what we put into our bodies. For more information about treatment or staying sober from prescription opioids, contact NorthStar Transitions today. Our designated program to treat prescription drug addiction can help you heal and get back on your feet. 

The American opioid epidemic has been a growing public health concern for decades, but what could be causing it to worsen? Individuals become dependent on prescription opioids for many reasons. However, a common occurrence that leads to dependency is physical injury. Physical injuries play a significant role in substance use disorders (SUDs). Individuals who experience a car accident, sports-related injury, or other physical complications that cause chronic pain are often prescribed prescription opioids to manage the pain. These medications are highly addictive and cause many adverse consequences for overall well-being. Thankfully, NorthStar Transitions can offer treatment and alternative ways to manage your pain. Call us at (303) 558-6400 for more information today. 

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