New data reveals one in six returning soldiers use opioid medications. Chapters Capistrano points out the addiction risk these prescriptions pose.

San Clemente, CA, July 7, 2014—

As the Fourth of July holiday weekend comes to a close, addiction recovery center Chapters Capistrano notes that many Americans may still be thinking about freedom and how our nation came to claim its independence. Those thoughts are compounded by the service that many men and women provide to defend the United States. However, recent reports suggest that many soldiers who work to protect the country, may only return to discover themselves facing a new fight for freedom—freedom from addiction.

A recent report from Fox News explains, “Almost half of the U.S. soldiers who have recently returned from deployment have chronic pain, and 15 percent use opioid painkillers, a new study finds. These new estimates of chronic pain and opioid use among soldiers are higher than those seen among the civilian population, the researchers said. About 26 percent of people in the general population report having chronic pain and 4 percent use opioids.”

Although opioid painkillers are prescribed and used legitimately to treat chronic pain, the team at Chapters Capistrano recognizes that it is important to consider the risk of addiction among veterans when treating them for such problems. As the researchers in the study—recently published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal—state, “[Statistics] might imply that opioids are working to mitigate pain, but it is also possible that soldiers are receiving or using these medications unnecessarily…This is cause for concern because opioids should be prescribed generally for moderate to severe pain and have high abuse and overdose potential.”

Mike Shea, founder of Chapters Capistrano, adds, “Anyone who uses painkillers—whether illicitly or prescribed—is at risk of becoming addicted. However, this risk seems to be much greater among returning soldiers who may also be struggling with mental health challenges. For instance, veterans who experience PTSD and use substances are more likely to encounter addiction patterns that are very difficult to overcome.”

Shea continues to note that while PTSD co-occurring with substance abuse is a major issue in the United States, it is one that can still be resolved. He states, “Through dual diagnosis and flexible treatment methods, any patient who is conflicted with mental health conditions and addiction, can work to break free from both issues at the same time.”

Chapters Capistrano has found through its own use of dual diagnosis treatment methods that those who work to address mental health challenges—such as PTSD—along with addiction are less likely to experience relapse in recovery. Shea states, “Guests who leave addiction recovery facilities may exit sober, but still may be troubled by underlying mental health issues that still require treatment. If untreated, there is a high risk that they will once again use drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress, depression and anxiety they feel.”

Those seeking to learn more information about treating painkiller addiction or dual diagnosis treatment methods are encouraged to reach out to the trusted staff at Chapters Capistrano by calling 949-276-2886.

Medical disclaimer:

Chapters Capistrano strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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