May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month Blog Post #27 #WEARENOTADDICTS

What does this hashtag even mean?  #WEARENOTADDICTS

There seems to be an attack or war against chronic pain patients like myself in this country and it is getting worse every day.  

Our government says there is an “opioid epidemic”  or an “opioid crisis” in this country without really giving you the whole picture.  They encourage the media to write big attracting headlines calling everyone who uses opioids an addict.  They take away the judgment of a doctor and come between them and their patient.  They have scared so many physicians that many have stopped prescribing opioids all together.  They have come out with stricter guidelines that only cause harm to legitimate chronic pain sufferers.  

I have been a chronic pain sufferer for 21 years and I have been treated very poorly by the medical community and it has gotten worse in the last year because there is a war against people like me.  

Let me explain to you the difference between a chronic pain sufferer and an addict because they are two completely different people.  

Chronic pain sufferers

  • do not make up pain
  • would love for people to believe us and stop judging us
  • are regular people who do not want to live a life in pain
  • are people who had a “life” or career before becoming a sufferer
  • did not choose to live with a chronic disease
  • we did not do anything wrong to deserve this pain or judgmental treatment from others
  • we try to stay hopeful that some day we won’t wake up suffering so much
  • we try so hard every day to get better and just accomplish one normal task a day
  • take pain medications to live a “normal” life
  • take pain medications just to get out of bed and function like a “normal” person
  • take pain medications to get to a tolerable level of pain not to eliminate it completely because for most of us that is impossible
  • volunteers to do random drug testing at their doctors to constantly prove to them that they are not taking street drugs or drugs from other physicians.  Yes, we have to sign a contract with our pain specialists. 
  • agree to meet their physicians on a regular basis and try non-drug alternatives to reduce their suffering
  • do not want to get “high”
  • break pills in half to reduce the dosage because they are limited on how many pills they are prescribed.  so, yes, we suffer more than we say.
  • break pills in half to see if they can get to a tolerable level on a lower dose
  • have no choice but do become dependent on their pain medications because that is what happens to you without your control
  • we would love to never have to see a doctor again
  • we constantly feel guilty of being a burden to our family and friends
  • we are jealous of you
  • we do not want to live like this

What is an Addict?

  • drug addiction is a brain disease according to NIDA
  • some may have started out in pain but end up having a drug addiction disease
  • may lie about being in pain to get medications
  • take drugs to get high or the next fix
  • go broke trying to get drugs to get high
  • some addicts resort to street drugs
  • some addicts shop doctors to get prescriptions
  • some may have started out in pain but enjoy the high so constantly seek it out
  • make all of us legitimate pain sufferers look like them

Dependence vs Addiction

Dependence usually refers to physical dependence.  For example, if you were in a coma and every day you received opioid medications you would become dependent on it and would wake up and have most likely have withdrawal symptoms if you were not given it again.  Your have no choice in it.  So if you take it as prescribed your body will become dependent on it and you will have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop.   So, most people who are on it long term take less and less as they heal.  That’s if they have a condition they can heal from.  But if you stop suddenly and have been on it a while you will go through withdrawals which is a variety of symptoms.  The withdrawal is physical.  It’s your body having a reaction from the substance being out of your system.  So you can be physically dependent on it without being an addict.  The frustrating part is most people think you are automatically going to be an addict once you start the meds which is not the case for majority of people.  There are many other drugs that cause dependence besides opioids but the government has put fear inside the heads of physicians so some will abruptly stop prescribing it and the person will suffer immensely.  The suffering is physical not psychological.  Think about people who drink caffeine every day.  They can become dependent on it and suffer withdrawals like headaches if they stop drinking it suddenly.  Easiest way to get off caffeine is to wean yourself off.  


Addiction is a different behavior all together.  It’s psychological.  It’s a compulsive behavior.  An addict is craving the high or the euphoric feeling they get from the drug.  They like it.  They feel it makes them function better but it’s not true.  An addicts life will completely change for the worse.  They won’t realize the harmful behavior and will do anything or spend a lot of money to get the drug or different drugs.  It will effect their home, school and work life for the worse.

Lastly, people dependent on their opioid medications will function better.  They can live a normal life.  They can get out of bed, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, socialize with friends.

There is a chronic pain crisis in this country and no one is addressing it!  They are so focused on talking about opioids and restricting opioids from people that need it.


My prior post on opioids here.

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