Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dependence, Tolerance and Addiction

Nursing 2010 recently published an article about managing pain in addicted patients. The author discussed the fact that there are a few buzz words associated with addiction and substance abuse that can be a little confusing.

Dependence is a normal physiologic response to chronic opioid use. If an opioid is abruptly withdrawn from a person on long term opioid therapy, the person will experience a withdrawal syndrome.

Tolerance occurs as the body adapts to chronic opioid use. Because of tolerance the opioid’s effects-both positive and negative-tend to lessen over time. Most adverse reaction such as nausea and sedation diminish, but so does pain relief. The person who’s becoming tolerant to an opioid will report more pain despite receiving the usual drug dosage. Tolerance is also a normal physiologic response and not a sign of addiction.

Addiction is a chronic, neurobiologic disease with physiologic, psychological, genetic, and environmental components. It’s characterized by four C’s:

· Craving for the substance

· Lack of Control over the substance

· Compulsive use

· Continued use despite harm.

At The Coleman Institute we help people get off opiates through our Accelerated Opiate Detox and naltrexone implants. We love what we do and we’re good at it.

Joan R. Shepherd, NP

No comments:

Post a Comment