According to the American Chronic Pain Association, approximately 86 million people in the U.S. suffer from, or are partially disabled by chronic pain. 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 suffers 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 sleep. 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 opiate detox program, please feel free to contact our office directly. You can also visit www.opiates.com for a tremendous resource of information on different treatments, drugs, news, and much more.