Chronic Illness & Dependency on Narcotic Pain Medications

With Chronic Illness usually comes chronic pain.  There are many ways to deal with Pain but the most effective and immediate methods usually involve Narcotic Pain Medications.  However, the Medical Practice of Pain Management is extremely complex and Narcotics can sometimes create a chronic problem all unto itself as the Patient battles to stay within the confines of “Dependency” as opposed to “Addiction.”  This Video explores this difficult chronic reality through the personal experience of the Producer who has used these medications to treat Severe Crohn’s Disease for many years.

This is part of my “Two Minute Drill” Series of Healthcare Videos.  The phrase is taken from the NFL, i.e., US Professional Football, and refers to that intense time of the last 2 minutes of the end of the 1st Half, or of the Game, when teams use a no-nonsense carefully timed 2-Minute Drill to most efficiently move down the field to score points.  With Television Commercials, the 2-Minute Drill is often 10-15 minutes of “Real Time” and that affords me the ability to still use the phrase when my succinct Videos are sometimes 4 Minutes in length!  I hope you enjoy the Content and that it provides you with mental stimulation and creative inspiration.


7 responses to “Chronic Illness & Dependency on Narcotic Pain Medications

  1. Michael – Once again you have touched on such an important issue that touches so many, including someone who was ver near and dear to me. Too many doctors give out these medications like they are candy, without a real plan and/or a pain management specialist to oversee the process. Hopefully your video will shed some light. Keep up the great work!

  2. Michael,

    Thank you for sharing your very personal story.


  3. Thank you for speaking out for millions of us with bowel disease. Fortunately I fall on the lighter end of the spectrum (but it does not seem light to me) I also have Fibromyalgia which messes with your gut. For thirty plus years I have been Dx’d IBD, no IBS, no Crone’s Disease. All I know for all the doctors, meds and hospitalations is that probably 70% of the time my gut hurts. I was once told that I had to make an appointment with a Gastroenterologist that coincided with the painful attacks. No way could he understand that when I was in the middle of an attack I was rolled in a ball in the bathroom floor entirely too ill to drive across Denver Colorado to see him. He also could not explain how to make these appointments so he could see me in the middle of an episode. Hopefully you will help legitimize bowel diseases, including those that come with Fibromyalgia, and allow us to walk into a physicians office without the raised eyebrow, when you say you need pain medication.

  4. Its often hard to get proper treatment for chronic illness, because a lot of time you look fine on the outside. Its like people forget there is a whole inside where havoc is going on.
    I grew up in Michigan and was diagnose with my first autoimmune disorder at the age of 15 (severe psoriatic arthritis). This was not surprising as my father had more that one AI problem including severe Chrons. The doctor I had in Michigan was fantastic. I had seen him basically my whole life. He took my pain very seriously and managed it well. Never made me feel like less of a person or untrustworthy. He never once humiliated me. I was his patient for over 20 years. I was also naive and though most other doctors treated their patients with this type of respect. Even the specialist referrals weren’t truamatic.I became disabled in 2005.
    I decided to move to California 3 years ago and boy did I find out things were different. I figured it would be easy just to transfer records and set up shop with a new doctor, I couldnt have been more wrong. I interviewed a lot of doctors upon arriving because I kept being called a liar, a drug seeker, that I didnt want to get better. I have MRI’s covering 8 years I brought to all these appointments that clearly showed the progression of the arthritis, along with degenerative disc disorder. I was still shoved out of their offices in tears because I wasnt being believed. Granted they would give me a script for the bare minimum when it came to pain management but didnt want to stick with the treatment plan that actually gave me a life. One pain doctor wanted to cut me open before he saw the MRI’s. There is nothing surgically to do. He made sure to humiliate me every time I went in, once even handing me a urine cup when I know it wasnt in the contract! After him I continued to try and find a fit for me. Doctors came and went and it always seemed to go the same here is your pain medication, now here is your humiliation. In this time I developed Chrons and hypothyroid which were overlooked, because I wasnt taken seriously.
    I have finally put together a group of professionals I trust, starting with my GP. He treats my pain seriously and wants me to be comfortable even if it means I am in his office a lot. He ALWAYS calls back.He is also not afraid to be aggressive with it, and it was like that from the first visit. My GI doc is fantastic as well. I feel very safe now with my team. I also always take someone in the office with me because if I am going to be mistreated I want witnesses and someone who will speak up for me as I just tend to cry.
    Some of this medical hell has added to my PTSD, I was labeled a drug seeker, they treated me no better than my verbally abusive mother. Major illnesses were overlooked because of their bias. People shouldnt have to suffer because doctors have bias.
    Its not only doctors that have treated me this way. Nurses, pharmacists, etc. One pharmacist was so out of line my advocate reported him to the state board.
    If you are frustrated with your doc keep looking. I drive an extra 20 miles to see mine,I know not everyone can do that, it can be worth it though. It takes so much energy to be chronically ill that energy doesnt need to be wasted on medical professionals that dont want to help.

  5. Dear Jadedamber:
    Thx for taking the time to watch and so thoughtfully comment on this Video. Your comments SO ACCURATELY described my gut-wrenching attempts to find a new Pain Management Doctor in Los Angeles, CA when I moved there a few years ago from New Jersey. I was made to feel like a Leper by both potential Doctors and Pharmacists, who thought I was simply a “drug-seeker” despite me having gone to great lengths to ALWAYS bring 15 years of Patient Records from my NY/NJ Pain Management Doctors (“PMD”) to EVERY APPOINTMENT with a prospective new PMD. When I finally found a compassionate and professional PMD, he had to tell me to stop apologizing for needing these drugs as my Patient Records speak for themselves but I had grown SO “defensive” from the same type of negative experiences you went through. But when you find the PMD who is RIGHT FOR YOU – it changes your life. I have so much respect for Doctors who choose to go into Pain Management because besides being compassionate and professional, they now have to deal with increasing administrative paperwork and investigations from the DEA to justify almost every prescription they write – all because of those “Pill Factories” that are unfortunately popping up all over. As you said, it’s hard to be chronically ill these days! Please be well.

  6. Michael
    thanks for the response, it was tough when I got out here. I just wasnt prepared. There are so few caring compassionate docs that are willing to treat pain. When you are 30 and need heavy narcotics they tend to go right to drug seeker rather that look through records. Many docs are scared of the DEA coming after them as they go after the good one as much if not more than the bad ones. My doc in Michigan was investigated. This was in small town michigan, I mean like towns with maybe 1000 people. They sent in undercover people posing as addicts refusing treatment so he carefully handled that., because an addict could die if they just stop cold turkey. They dragged him out in handcuffs on the news, dragged his name through the mud, and then dropped the charges. Free and clear. The undercover person they sent in even said she thought the doctor did nothing wrong. But they caused a lot of damage.He ran a free clinic also that had to be shut down in all the chaos. He aged 20 yrs in the time it took to clear it up. The whole community rallied around him though because he was really a good doc. I dont see it getting any easier for chronically ill/chronic pain patients. I see it getting mush harder for people that need these medications. There are contracts, they can send you to rehab if they dont think you are improving, which isnt fair as most chronic illnesses dont just get better, by definition they get worse.
    They make it seem like its not that bad.Sometimes I would gladly change bodies with them for a few months, let them live with it and then have to be humiliated on top of it. I didnt ask for this on my wish list, I have no control over what my immune system does. I am fighting a war thats somewhat one-sided and my immune system has the upper hand. These are the cards I was dealt and I will play them the best I can, and I feel like the docs I have now will help me get the best outcome. Maybe its the small town girl left in me, but I like my GP being the one taking care of my pain and really everything else, with outside consultations. I think when you get to many hands (docs) in the pot its more likely mistakes will be made. Miscommunication in healthcare happens so easily.
    I am glad that you found help too, its a huge weight off the shoulders, it promotes getting better. Please be well. I can be found on twitter if you are a tweeter 🙂 My twitter handle is the same as my username here. Jadedamber

  7. I thank to you that did a great work by publishing a nice article.

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