Chronic Pain Treatment: Depression and Anxiety

Chronic Pain Treatment, Your Rights and Your Doctor

Many chronic pain sufferers run into roadblocks when it comes to treatment options and numerous chronic pain patients are not believed by their doctors. Chronic pain can be resultant of a multitude of different causal agents. One may be suffering through a debilitating disease, another may be suffering due to some form of accident and others may not be able to come by a diagnosis as to why they are having chronic pain.

Often times when a causal agent is not immediately found, physicians will tell their patients that they are suffering from depression and/or anxiety. In some instances this might be accurate; however, this diagnosis is too often delivered to patients that are truly suffering from chronic pain where the underlying cause has yet to be discovered. Unfortunately, for these patients once this diagnosis becomes a part of their medical records they will be hard pressed to get their doctor to run more extensive tests or to garner a second opinion from another physician. Your medical records will follow you throughout your lifetime.

Many of these chronic pain patients suffer in silence until they have an episode that is too great for them to handle and they seek treatment in an emergency room. Hospitals keep records of patients too, so if a patient seems to be appearing too often seeking relief from their pain they may soon be labeled as having drug seeking behavior. When this becomes the case the chronic pain patient loses even more credibility and may never be treated properly for their pain.

Another issue with physicians and chronic pain treatment is writing prescriptions for narcotics for the chronic pain patient. For many chronic pain sufferers the opioid class of drugs is there only saviors. Physicians are reluctant to begin this regimen of treatment for fear of losing their license, which is understandable; however, should the chronic pain patient have to suffer because of the strict mandates regarding these drugs? Certainly not, and physicians need to understand this.

Enter into any chronic pain forum or opting health magazine and you will find many individuals that are suffering because they cannot find a physician to treat them. The government has regulated the use of narcotics in treatment, and has so scared the medical community that the fear of treating patients on a long-term basis is widespread. For many patients depression has become a part of their life as well as anxiety; chronic pain is not being treated so depression and anxiety set in making the pain worse which in turns makes the depression and anxiety deepen; this is a vicious cycle indeed.

Examples of the drugs that fall into the narcotic or opioid class:

  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Demerol
  • Morphine
  • Dilaudid
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Codeine

There are advocates that are fighting for the rights of chronic pain patients through petitions and by joining forces with all of their members and other organizations in contacting politicians nationwide at all levels. The advocates also keep in contact with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as pharmaceutical companies and a multitude of physicians. These individuals are fighting the good fight.

It is estimated that around 77 million individuals are suffering from chronic pain and that most of them are not being treated. If you suffer from chronic pain then you might consider joining an advocacy group and also having a calm and rational appointment with your doctor, at this appointment it would be advisable to bring a pain diary that you have been keeping religiously, a list of any diagnosis, a list of any medications that you might take and inform your physician that you are willing to sign a pain management contract. A pain management contract is an agreement between you and your physician stating that you will not see other doctors for pain to get prescriptions, that you will use only one designated pharmacy and that you will bring your medication to each appointment so that it can be counted at random. Keep fighting for your rights and remember that you are your own best advocate.