Pain Doctors and Addiction

Back in 2015, my husband had back pain and went to a pain doctor. When he filled out the questionnaire, he checked he had a history of depression and alcohol addiction. This should have been a red flag for the doctor. 

To my surprise at the end the consultation, the doctor handed my husband a prescription for percocet and told us to come back in 2 weeks. The percocet helped a lot in the first couple of days, but then slowly lost efficiency over time. Sure enough, he came back 2 weeks later because he didn’t feel any better. 

We ran all tests known to mankind, but everything came back normal. Yet the doctor still continued writing percocet prescription. My husband came to see the doctor every 2 weeks for follow- up. This lasted for 2 years. He didn’t abuse the medication an nor take more than what wasn’t prescribed. However he had developed tolerance and physical dependence to the drugs. These alone can cause sever clinical impairment and distress. 

He was on medications that were supposed to help him feel better yet they were making him feel worse and whenever he tried to stop taking them, the pain and lingering side effects and agonizing and withdrawals were overpowering.  He could not sleep at night, could not stay awake during the day. He was prescribed adderall to function at work, but still barely could open his eyes. He had problems at work for lack of performance and tardiness. He started to see things that weren’t there and to acted irrationally and erratically. Sometimes, he just yelled and slammed doors for no reason.   We argued a lot and started to sleep in different beds. 

Fast forward, May 2017,  my husband now was on a mixed cocktail of deadly drugs. He was on painkiller percocet, sedatives ativan (lorazepam) and klonopin (clonazepam), and amphetamine adderall. He was at the mercy of the drugs.  I finally threatened to sue the doctor and this created a lot conflicts in our marriage. Now the doctor finally wanted him to try physical therapy, trigger point injection or nerve-root block. However I could not deal with it anymore. My husband and I separated for 6 months and I decided to not get involved in his care anymore. He then moved out for 6 months. I will explain later what happened during those 6 months, but i can tell you it was hell. 

Still today, i wonder if that doctor was negligent or if he saw my husband was a potential good source of additional income. I know the insurance paid him $800 per visit. If the visit takes more than 15 minutes, it was $1,000. So in the course of 2 years, this doctor made about $48,000 out of my husband. I also know he saw about 20-30 patients a day. I remember this one particular fellow patient, a young man in his early 20’s who came there around the same time as my husband every 2 weeks for 2 years.  I think a lot about him and hope he’s okay.  How can people stay healthy and sober, if the doctors whom we trust for guidance, expose us to the deadly dangers of opioids addiction? 

If you or someone you love struggle with chronic pain,and you decide to see a pain doctor, make sure you tell the doctor you want to run tests first to rule out other conditions first; then ask for prescriptions for chiropractic or physical therapy. As far as the nerve-root block injections, my husband never did them so I can’t say. Opioids should be a very last resort. 

As far as i know painkillers should only be prescribed to the following group of people: 

  • people who just had surgery
  • people who have been seriously injured
  • people who are near end of life
  • people who have cancer and other severe chronic diseases (chronic pain that has no cause should not apply)

As always, If you need to talk to someone, feel free to email me mymidthirties@gmail.com. 

Disclaimer: **Not all pain doctors are this careless. As a matter of fact, there are more caring pain doctors than bad. This post refers to one particular doctor who treated my husband. 

 

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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