Major Surgery and the Addicted Individual

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 | By Lisa Downing

Patient and doctor at hospital discuss managing addiction recovery with major surgery with tips from Journey Pure treatment center

It’s virtually inevitable that at some point in our lives, we will require surgery. Regardless of how extensive or serious the surgery is, it is likely that painkillers will be prescribed by the surgeon to manage post-procedure discomfort. For most patients undergoing a surgical procedure, there is not much to worry about. However, for someone in recovery, especially someone recovering from opiates, major surgery can lead to relapse and months or even years of new suffering.

What to do – prepare

It can be absolutely petrifying to know that there will be pain after surgery and opiate medication may be the only way to manage it properly. This is a stress on top of the prospect of surgery itself, which for anyone is a scary experience. However, preparation is the key to reducing the risk of relapse and getting through surgery without revisiting an addiction.

The first step in preparing for surgery and the potential need for opiate painkillers is to discuss your addiction issues with your doctor, your counselor, your sponsor and trusted friends and relatives. Discussing these issues openly and well in advance can both put your mind at ease and give each of these stakeholders in your health time to prepare. Each of these friends, family and medical providers will play a part in helping you ensure that you don’t relapse.

It may be helpful to designate a friend or family member to hold on to your medication and deliver only the correct amount according to your prescription dosage and duration. Having this responsible person near you, during your recovery, means that for the few days after surgery that you might need opiate pain medication, you won’t be tempted to take any more than what is prescribed.

A new state of mind

Remember, also, that you are not the same person you were when you were abusing prescription drugs. Understand that you have gone through weeks or even months of therapy and you have developed the coping skills to be around the realities of opiates and other addictive drugs without wanting to take them and falling back into the throes of relapse. You also have people and medical professionals around you that you trust. Use them to make sure that you don’t go down the wrong path. Just remember that taking opiate drugs when prescribed and for a specific reason is less likely to result in relapse.

You may also wish to contact a treatment center like ours to work with you on a potential medication assisted therapy to avoid the possibility of relapse. We can help reduce the risk of relapse while making sure that you receive the pain management that you need

One of the most powerful ideas to bear in mind, is that you live with the temptation of returning to opiates every day, but you choose not to do so. You know what your life was like on drugs, and you don’t want to go back there. Knowing this and understanding that proper pain treatment can be both safe and effective after major surgery helps take the next step and avoid relapse. One of the biggest triggers for relapse is stress. Therefore, managing the stress and anxiety of an upcoming surgery can also be helpful in reducing your risk of relapse.

Finally, there is nothing like a proper support team to help you through these most difficult times in your recovery. Whether it is your counselor, sponsor, medical team, friends, family or a new treatment center entirely, be sure to lean on them to help you through the process. Not only can they give you the advice you need to manage the pain, but they can also help you avoid relapse and stay healthy.

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