Pain management medications are powerful, especially to the developing mind. Teenagers and kids may be involved in sports or recreational activities that might lead to broken legs, loose teeth, or other injuries. Kids may also be exposed to pain management medications if their parents suffer from chronic pain and use medication to manage the pain. A potential unintended side effect of pain management medication may be an addiction. A person may have been taking their pain medications as prescribed to manage physical pain, however, they have become addicted to numbing their emotional pain while on these medications. Pain management can also have the consequence of teaching kids that pills or other substances are the only way to deal with any form of pain, whether physical or emotional. Exploring alternatives and holistic approaches may help us steer away from the danger of addiction to pain medication.
Becoming a Fix for All Problems
When kids are given pain medications to deal with an injury, they might become addicted to the emotional numbness from the pills. They might be struggling with emotional or mental health issues in addition to their pain from their injury. When these other emotional issues go untreated and then a kid takes pain medication, they make a connection between numbing their painful emotions and taking a pill. Kids and teens are still learning how to manage their emotions and deal with pain. Kids do not have the emotional intelligence of experience to understand that there are numerous ways to cope with negative feelings.
When we first find a solution to a new problem, we can become stuck on the idea that this solution is the only solution. When kids are first experiencing feelings of rejection, sadness, insecurity, lack of safety, anxiety, or any other negative emotion, they may not fully understand or have any coping skills to use. If kids are then introduced to a pain management medication for an injury while also dealing with these emotions, they might make the connection that pills are a solution to all types of pain. Kids may then neglect to learn other coping skills for negative emotions and the cycle of addiction may begin.
Parents With Chronic Pain: Setting an Example
Kids may also be in danger of misusing or abusing pain management medication when a parent uses pills to cope with chronic pain. Parents using these medications should keep them in a safe place. However, if we are using these medications to manage pain without exploring other alternatives, we may be sending the message to our kids that pills fix everything. Alternative and holistic approaches to treating chronic pain are available. We can explore these options, not only to help ourselves, but to teach our kids about finding multiple approaches to managing our health.
Talking to our doctors about chronic pain management can be the most important first step. We need to remember that while our doctors have a lot of knowledge about our health, we are consulting with them. Often we see doctors as unquestionable authority figures, however, doctors can be understanding about our fears about certain treatments. They might even recommend taking less potent and less addictive drugs, like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to manage pain. We can talk to our doctors about holistic approaches. Some common holistic approaches to pain management that can help minimize the risk of addiction to pain medications are:
- Chiropractic work
- Yoga and flexibility exercises
- Massage therapy
- Aqua therapy
- Physical therapy
Sometimes, we may be using these medications to deal with not only the physical aspects of pain but the emotional aspects as well. Chronic pain can often carry the emotional burdens of feeling helpless or hopeless from a life of pain and suffering. If we are using pain pills to deal with our emotions, we might be setting an example for our kids to do the same. Gratitude exercises can help us deal with emotional pain. By writing down the things we are grateful for, we can get a new perspective on our lives and remind ourselves that we are not always suffering. Exploring therapy, spending time with family and loved ones, and focusing on hobbies are also ways to manage the emotions of living with chronic pain.
Kids can be susceptible to using pain management medications as a “cure-all” to all of their problems. Kids may have emotional issues that they have not learned to deal with and the introduction of pain pills for an injury may leave them vulnerable to addiction. By checking in with our kids regularly and fostering a healthy relationship with them, we can help guide them through dealing with negative emotions. If we use medications to manage our own pain, we may need to re-examine our options to consider the example we are setting for our kids.
Pain management medications may lead to addictions for kids and teens. Kids can be especially vulnerable to becoming addicted to these powerful medications. Explore alternatives with your doctor if your child suffers an injury and is prescribed pain management medications. Parents also need to be mindful of the example they are setting while dealing with their own pain. If you suffer from chronic pain, you might need to consider alternatives to pain management to set a good example for your teen. Kids may get the message that pills can cure all issues. You can also benefit from exploring holistic options and learning ways to deal with the emotional aspects of chronic pain. Fire Mountain understands that kids can become addicted to medications easily. We are here to help parents and kids lead happy, healthy lives.
Call us today at (303) 443-3343.