How to Prevent Opioid Relapse After Surgery
Surgery can present unique challenges to people with a history of prescription opioid abuse, also known as opioid use disorder (OUD). After surgery, the use of pain medication understandably worries some patients, who fear a period of surgery recovery may trigger an opioid relapse for them. While it is possible, it is also preventable. Pain management for recovering addicts does not have to be hopeless.
If you are recovering from opioid addiction, controlling your post-surgery pain can certainly be a challenge. People with OUD show a decrease in pain tolerance and an increase in sensitivity to pain. Even people who no longer show signs of physical dependence can still be vulnerable to triggers that can cause a relapse.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your potential for relapse and continue living an addiction–free life. Understanding the role of opioids in surgery and having an honest, in-depth discussion with your doctor beforehand are crucial first steps.
Avoiding relapse is feasible with the appropriate support. We can connect you with an outpatient treatment center to provide you with the resources needed to prevent a relapse. Call us today at 614-502-6247 to discuss pain management for opiate addicts. Together we can ease your anxiety and keep you on the road to recovery.
Relapsing after surgery is a common concern for recovering opioid addicts. But balancing pain management and addiction treatment does not have to be a struggle. Continue reading below for more information about how to prevent an opioid relapse after surgery.
Understand the Risk of Relapse
If you have struggled with opioid addiction in the past, know that you are not alone. Opioid use disorder affects the lives of numerous Americans. Approximately 25% of patients who received opioid prescriptions reported struggling with OUD. We can see the impact of the increase of opioid prescriptions over the years in the rising numbers of overdoses and deaths from opioids. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids rose more than four times the rate in 1999.
Given these statistics, it is understandable that you may be wary of how surgery could affect your recovery. Surgery can make people uneasy for several reasons. However, recovering addicts are especially vulnerable during the post-operation period since opioids are often prescribed for pain management during this time. Additionally, everyday stressors like anxiety have the potential to trigger cravings.
You may also fear unfair treatment or judgment by medical providers for your history of addiction. It is common to worry about receiving inadequate pain relief and relapsing as a result. After working hard to reach recovery, facing the possibility of relapse after surgery can be discomfiting. This does not mean that you have to avoid surgery at the risk of your health. But it does mean that you have to be cautious and work to prevent problems before they arise.
You may have some questions going into surgery, such as, “Is anesthesia an opiate?” and “Can anesthesia cause a relapse?” While some anesthetics do contain opioids, they are not the same as prescription opioids. In effect, using an anesthesia during your surgery will not break your sobriety. It is the post-surgery period that you will have to be cautious about.
Talk to Your Doctor
When taking action to prevent opioid relapse is to be proactive rather than reactive. In other words, it is crucial to address your concerns before your surgery takes place rather than waiting until complications arise later. Talk to your doctor about your problems. If your doctor is aware of your history of opioid abuse, they will balance your needs and safety. They can take precautions to mitigate risk from the beginning, so you do not have to tackle the issue independently.
To set yourself up for successful surgery recovery, it is crucial to be honest with your doctor about your situation. The doctor involved in your surgery may cooperate with your general care doctor to get a full picture of your medical history. However, it is best to have only one doctor providing all your pain medication prescriptions so that they can become familiar with your situation and individualize your post-operation care.
Before prescribing medication, your doctor should be aware of your tolerance potential and any relapse triggers that may pose complications. Of course, nonopioid medications should be considered first, but sometimes avoiding opioids after surgery is impossible. Any necessary opioids should be prescribed at the lowest effective dose and for a limited period. Typically, your doctor will want to wean you from the drug periodically to reassess your pain and make appropriate adjustments.
Depending on your doctor’s assessment of your situation, they may even consider a naloxone prescription. Naloxone is a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose.
Do you want to talk to a medical professional about any problems you may be having? Then call us today. Our experts will work with you to help you. We only want to help you start living a happier and healthier life.
What to Do Before Surgery
In speaking to your doctor about the concerns illustrated above, you will create a plan to prevent opioid relapse. Developing a pain management strategy will prepare both you and your doctor so they can determine the best practices, and you can know what to expect going into the process. A plan can also help to hold you accountable despite the challenges you face. You and your doctor should consider your education regarding opioids and addiction, anxiety management strategies, cravings, and pain levels. Addressing each of these topics as they pertain to you specifically will ensure that you meet your individual needs.
An effective post-surgery plan should also include instructions for safe medication use and storage and arrangements for the disposal of any unused medication. If possible, it may be a good idea to involve a trusted individual responsible for holding and dispensing the opioid medicines for you. Any individuals, such as family members involved in assisting you through recovery, should be aware of your plan and receive any necessary education on addiction treatment. Support is crucial to any post-operation scenario, but especially so for a recovering opioid addict since isolation is one factor that can trigger a relapse.
When these factors are discussed beforehand, it can ease the anxiety you may experience after the surgery, thus preventing stress from hindering your recovery.
What to Do After Surgery
After your surgery, it is important to attend any follow-up appointments so your doctors can continue to support you when your operation is complete. They will ask you to monitor your pain, signs of cravings and withdrawal, and anxiety to make any adjustments based on your developments. Watching yourself can be more comfortable when you have support to guide you.
A reliable support system is essential at any stage of recovery, but especially during times when the potential for relapse increases. While some people may receive assistance and comfort from their loved ones, help can also come in support groups and treatment programs. When discussing your concerns before the surgery, your doctor may suggest that you seek or increase involvement in a recovery program. Efforts to treat OUD treatment typically focus on outpatient methods. Whatever the form, a support system is just another crucial step toward preventing opioid relapse.
The recovery period after surgery is when you will be most vulnerable to the possibility of relapse. This period is the time to take advantage of the support available to you. Needing help is never something to be ashamed of, and you should not hesitate to ask for it. Support provides you with useful resources and coping skills to learn to overtake stressors and obstacles that can lead to relapse. Such resources are helpful in vulnerable times like post-surgery periods and essential to incorporate into your daily life. Receiving continued assistance for addiction recovery can help you stay in remission.
If you are struggling with addiction, then remember, you are not alone. It is easy to feel like you are isolated, but we are here for you. We care about you. We want to help you. Call our specialists today and start your journey to sobriety now.
Help is Available
Any anxiety you may feel about an upcoming surgery is natural. You have put time and effort into achieving and maintaining your sobriety, and you want to avoid anything that might impede your progress. But preserving your sobriety should not have to mean neglecting other accepts of your health. Successful post-operation pain management is possible for you.
Pain management for addicts can be a daunting topic to address. Dealing with pain management and addiction treatment at the same time is undoubtedly a complicated situation. Fortunately, there are resources to turn to every step of the way.
In sum, preparing before the surgery will help ease your worry afterward and mitigate some of the stressors that can cause a relapse. Your doctor’s support and understanding are essential to this preparation process. When they understand your unique situation, then they will be able to individualize your post-surgery care. Also, they will adjust their approaches to prescribing opioids and help you monitor your condition.
The ability to recognize and pay close attention to your withdrawal concerns and relapse triggers will also help you successfully manage your pain once you are no longer in your doctor’s care. You do not have to tackle this issue on your own, however. When you have someone to turn to for support, your concerns will be easier to manage. The right outpatient facility could provide you with the tools necessary for relapse prevention, and we are here to guide you in the right direction.
Please contact us today. We can give you the answers you seek. Also, we can helpo you discover the support program that works best for you. Do not hesitate. Call today and start living your best life tomorrow.
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