Chronic pain is an issue for many Floridians. While there are both over-the-counter and prescription drugs to help relieve pain as well as holistic and other medical treatments, some people still use alcohol to treat their pain issues. Unfortunately, using alcohol for pain relief can have some troubling side effects, one of which is addiction.
Using Alcohol to Relieve Chronic Pain
If you are using alcohol to treat your chronic pain issues, you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, up to 28% of people that have chronic pain admit that they turn to alcohol to treat their symptoms. Furthermore, a 2009 study found that roughly 25% of patients that suffer from arthritis pain, jaw pain, and tooth pain also self-medicate with alcohol.
Alcohol appears to alleviate pain in some cases because it affects your body’s central nervous system. This is temporary relief, however, and medical experts will tell you that alcohol itself has no pain-relieving properties. Instead, using alcohol as a pain reliever can have some dangerous side effects.
The Dangers of Using Alcohol to Treat Pain
Using alcohol to treat pain long-term is not only ineffective, but it is also dangerous. When you drink to reduce pain, you are exceeding the guidelines for “moderate” daily alcohol consumption, which means that you are more likely to develop a tolerance and become dependent on the substance. Once alcoholism becomes a reality, it will be difficult if not impossible to break free without help.
The NIH also reports that chronic alcohol consumption can make pain worse. It can create small fiber peripheral neuropathy, which is a neurological complication associated with alcoholism. Withdrawal can also lead to extreme pain sensitivity.
Finally, alcohol is incredibly dangerous when mixed with other medications used to treat pain. If you mix alcohol with acetaminophen, it can lead to acute liver failure. Gastric bleeding can result from mixing aspirin with alcohol. Alcohol is also dangerous when mixed with opioids, and this can lead to respiratory depression, coma, and death.
Get Help at a Florida Alcohol Rehab
Alcohol has been used as a treatment for pain ever since man first crushed grapes, but you would think that we have advanced to the point where modern medicine would take over. In some cases, it does, but the results are not encouraging. This nation’s opioid epidemic is proof that prescription painkillers may not be the best alternative since they can also lead to addiction as well as produce worse patient outcomes.
If you have chronic pain, it is still possible to get holistic treatment for your medical condition that helps you manage your pain issues without the use of addictive substances. Being tied to alcohol or drugs is not only dangerous but unhealthy, and it is not something that is going to help your pain long-term.
The Orlando Recovery Center can help you break free from addiction with its specialized Florida alcohol rehab programs. Contact us now to learn about admissions options and take the first step to finding a healthier way to live.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.