Saturday, May 8, 2010

Anna and Robbie

Robbie was receiving chronic pain treatment and when he started coming up short on his meds his PCP knew there was a problem. Sure enough, he brought his wife, Anna, into the office, both of them embarrassed to admit that he was giving a portion of his medication to her. Apparently she had had a surgery 2 years ago, was placed on medication and was never able to stop. Her doctor cut her off rather abruptly and she went into severe withdrawal.

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Anna and Robbie are devoted parents who are both struggling with opiate addiction issues, and possibly chronic pain issues. Until they stop using the opiates they won’t be able to know for sure about their pain.

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Anna was weeping with shame and struggling with physical symptoms. She was humiliated that she had become dependent on these medications.

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I was very clear with Anna, as I am with all of our patients: physical dependence isn’t a choice; it’s going to happen if a person takes enough narcotics long enough. A choice is originally made to use the medications in the first place, but many of our patients have been started on pain medications by well meaning physicians who continue to prescribe. If they stop prescribing, many patients will go to the ER for meds, find another physician or start buying drugs ‘off the street’.

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Anna is going to be fine. With our Accelerated Opiate Detox at The Coleman Institute she’ll be opiate free in 3 days and she plans to follow up with an Intensive Outpatient Program. Call if we can help you.

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Joan Shpherd, FNP

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