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Pain, Opioids and Insomnia

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opioids and insomnia

In a new survey by the International Association for the Study of Pain, the experts had found out that chronic pain affects more than 20 percent of Americans at any given time. Chronic pain can be debilitating and can affect not only the quality of the patient’s daily life, but their sleep cycles as well. Since severe pain often prevents sufferers from achieving restful sleep, many can experience symptoms of insomnia. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can also intensify pain symptoms and may create an adverse situation where the patient feels they need higher doses of the medication to achieve relief.

Many chronic pain patients are prescribed opiate painkillers, like Vicodin or OxyContin, to help aid pain relief and also assist them with falling and staying asleep.  While these prescription painkillers can help some patients find restful sleep, with long-term use many patients also experience a frightening condition, known as sleep apnea.

In a study conducted on patients being treated with opioid therapy, researchers observed that as many as 75 percent of patients who take opioids long term for chronic pain experienced obstructive and central sleep apneas. Obstructive sleep apnea essentially occurs when something is blocking the airway, preventing the patient from getting an adequate flow of air, while central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send a signal to the body to take a breath. Both forms of sleep apnea can be incredibly dangerous as they can cause conditions like elevated blood pressure, memory loss, migraines, oxygen deprivation in major organs and bodily functions, and in rare cases even death.

If you suspect you or someone you know may be experiencing dependency to opiates, or if you have questions about prescription painkillers, we urge you to contact your medical physicians.  For more information on choosing an opioid detox program call us at 800-423-2482 to speak confidentially to one of our treatment specialists. 


Opioids and Insomnia in Patients Suffering from Chronic Pain

Prevalence of Chronic Pain among Adults in the United States


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