Chronic Pain and Addiction in Veterans

Understanding Chronic Pain and Addiction in Veterans

Reviewed by
A Medical Professional

Medically Verified: February 29, 2024

Chronic Pain and Addiction in Veterans

While chronic pain affects 50 million U.S. adults, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that it is more prevalent among veterans. Veterans are at a higher risk for developing chronic pain because of the toll the military takes on the body. From intense training exercises to active combat, veterans experience tons of injuries and health problems like arthritis.

When a military veteran is dealing with chronic pain, one of the top ways doctors treat it is through opioid pain medication. While opioid medications are effective in managing chronic pain symptoms, they can also lead to addiction. Additionally, some veterans might be forced to come off their pain medication, causing them to look for relief from drugs they find on the street.

If you are a veteran dealing with chronic pain and a substance use disorder, you might be wondering what your options are. Drug rehab programs can help you overcome your addiction using evidence-based therapies, group counseling, and relapse prevention strategies. Additionally, they can help you tackle chronic pain management using alternatives to opioid pain relievers.

How Common is Chronic Pain Among Veterans?

According to the VA, chronic pain affects veterans in the following ways:

  • 1 in 5 veterans report persistent pain
  • 1 in 10 veterans experience severe persistent pain
  • 1 in 3 veterans have been diagnosed with a chronic pain condition

The pain intensity associated with chronic pain can be incredibly difficult to cope with. As a result, the healthcare system tends to offer veterans opioid medications for pain treatment. Unfortunately, opioid prescribing often leads to an increased risk of long-term addiction.

How Does Chronic Pain Lead to Addiction Among Veterans?

When a veteran is experiencing chronic pain, the standard of treatment is opioid pain relievers. While opioids can increase your quality of life in the short term, continuous use of them will lead to dependence and addiction.

Veterans develop an addiction to their chronic pain medication for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Developing a dependency on the medication after long-term use
  • Having the prescription taken away suddenly causes veterans to look for relief from opioid drugs found on the street
  • Noticing that their symptoms of mental health conditions are momentarily relieved while under the influence of opioid medications

If you are a veteran with chronic pain who has become addicted to opioids, help is available. Drug rehab programs may provide physical health care to relieve your chronic pain while helping you overcome your addiction. Instead of using opioids, treatment centers like Alamo Behavioral Health will use non-addictive alternatives to pain management.

How Can a Drug Rehab Center Help Veterans Suffering From Chronic Pain?

Drug rehab programs that specialize in veteran care can help you recover from both addiction and chronic pain at the same time. By using a combination of evidence-based addiction therapies and non-addictive alternatives to chronic pain management, we can help you regain control over your life.

At Alamo Behavioral Health, we help veterans overcome addiction and chronic pain by:

Treating Addiction

The first step in recovery from addiction and chronic pain is undergoing detox. When you have been on opioid pain relievers long-term, suddenly stopping them will result in withdrawal. We can offer medications like Suboxone and methadone to manage your withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings.

In addition to detox, we treat addiction by:

  • Offering one-on-one therapy to address the root causes of your addiction
  • Providing group counseling to teach effective coping mechanisms
  • Teaching relapse prevention skills to prevent you from returning to opioid addiction in the future
  • Offering aftercare services to keep you connected to a recovery community
  • Treating any co-occurring mental health conditions you might struggle with

Replacing Chronic Pain Medication

Since chronic pain is usually the driving factor that leads to your addiction, we make it a priority to help you manage it.

Methods we use to manage chronic pain without opioids include:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Topical ointments like lidocaine
  • Exercise therapy and physical therapy
  • Interventional therapies like injections
  • Exercise, nutritional counseling, and weight loss programs
  • Medications for depression that have pain-relieving qualities
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to help you manage pain naturally
  • Holistic pain treatments like massage and acupuncture

Find an Addiction Treatment Center for Veterans

If you are a veteran struggling with co-occurring chronic pain and addiction, Alamo Behavioral Health is here to help. We offer services for both addiction recovery and chronic pain management, ensuring you have the best shot at long-term sobriety possible.

Contact us today to learn more about treatment for chronic pain and addiction among veterans.

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Chronic Pain and Addiction in Veterans

While chronic pain affects 50 million U.S. adults, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that it is more prevalent among veterans. Veterans are at a higher risk for developing chronic pain because of the toll the military takes on the body. From intense training exercises to active combat, veterans experience tons of injuries and health problems like arthritis.

When a military veteran is dealing with chronic pain, one of the top ways doctors treat it is through opioid pain medication. While opioid medications are effective in managing chronic pain symptoms, they can also lead to addiction. Additionally, some veterans might be forced to come off their pain medication, causing them to look for relief from drugs they find on the street.

If you are a veteran dealing with chronic pain and a substance use disorder, you might be wondering what your options are. Drug rehab programs can help you overcome your addiction using evidence-based therapies, group counseling, and relapse prevention strategies. Additionally, they can help you tackle chronic pain management using alternatives to opioid pain relievers.

How Common is Chronic Pain Among Veterans?

According to the VA, chronic pain affects veterans in the following ways:

  • 1 in 5 veterans report persistent pain
  • 1 in 10 veterans experience severe persistent pain
  • 1 in 3 veterans have been diagnosed with a chronic pain condition

The pain intensity associated with chronic pain can be incredibly difficult to cope with. As a result, the healthcare system tends to offer veterans opioid medications for pain treatment. Unfortunately, opioid prescribing often leads to an increased risk of long-term addiction.

How Does Chronic Pain Lead to Addiction Among Veterans?

When a veteran is experiencing chronic pain, the standard of treatment is opioid pain relievers. While opioids can increase your quality of life in the short term, continuous use of them will lead to dependence and addiction.

Veterans develop an addiction to their chronic pain medication for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Developing a dependency on the medication after long-term use
  • Having the prescription taken away suddenly causes veterans to look for relief from opioid drugs found on the street
  • Noticing that their symptoms of mental health conditions are momentarily relieved while under the influence of opioid medications

If you are a veteran with chronic pain who has become addicted to opioids, help is available. Drug rehab programs may provide physical health care to relieve your chronic pain while helping you overcome your addiction. Instead of using opioids, treatment centers like Alamo Behavioral Health will use non-addictive alternatives to pain management.

How Can a Drug Rehab Center Help Veterans Suffering From Chronic Pain?

Drug rehab programs that specialize in veteran care can help you recover from both addiction and chronic pain at the same time. By using a combination of evidence-based addiction therapies and non-addictive alternatives to chronic pain management, we can help you regain control over your life.

At Alamo Behavioral Health, we help veterans overcome addiction and chronic pain by:

Treating Addiction

The first step in recovery from addiction and chronic pain is undergoing detox. When you have been on opioid pain relievers long-term, suddenly stopping them will result in withdrawal. We can offer medications like Suboxone and methadone to manage your withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings.

In addition to detox, we treat addiction by:

  • Offering one-on-one therapy to address the root causes of your addiction
  • Providing group counseling to teach effective coping mechanisms
  • Teaching relapse prevention skills to prevent you from returning to opioid addiction in the future
  • Offering aftercare services to keep you connected to a recovery community
  • Treating any co-occurring mental health conditions you might struggle with

Replacing Chronic Pain Medication

Since chronic pain is usually the driving factor that leads to your addiction, we make it a priority to help you manage it.

Methods we use to manage chronic pain without opioids include:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Topical ointments like lidocaine
  • Exercise therapy and physical therapy
  • Interventional therapies like injections
  • Exercise, nutritional counseling, and weight loss programs
  • Medications for depression that have pain-relieving qualities
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to help you manage pain naturally
  • Holistic pain treatments like massage and acupuncture

Find an Addiction Treatment Center for Veterans

If you are a veteran struggling with co-occurring chronic pain and addiction, Alamo Behavioral Health is here to help. We offer services for both addiction recovery and chronic pain management, ensuring you have the best shot at long-term sobriety possible.

Contact us today to learn more about treatment for chronic pain and addiction among veterans.

Reviewed by
A Medical Professional

Medically Verified: February 29, 2024

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