Why does my doctor want to prescribe opioids for my chronic pain? I don't want to become addicted.

Many people who have chronic pain are afraid of becoming addicted to stronger medications. Although it's always a possibility, researchers have found that, in general, people who do become addicted do have some predisposing factors. They can include a family history or prior history of addiction, an abusive childhood, or an unusual stress response, to name a few.

If there's concern about addiction, speak with your doctor about it and discuss why you're worried. You may want to visit a pain clinic that specializes in managing patients with chronic pain. When working with patients who have chronic pain, doctors have to balance relieving the pain with the potential for addiction. However, although we don't have accurate numbers, studies are showing that the people who do become addicted to opioids while taking them for pain relief are few in number.


Jane C. Ballantyne and K. Steven LaForge. Opioid dependence and addiction during opioid treatment of chronic pain. In Pain. June 2007. Vol. 129. No. 3. Pp. 332-342.


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