Substance use disorders are common in any medical specialty setting. While it might not be apparent on the surface to a provider, many of our patients are struggling with dependence on alcohol, drugs or prescription medications.
There has been a great deal of press surrounding the opioid epidemic gripping the country. It is true that heroin is cheap and easy to acquire, but prescription opioids abuse constitutes a large portion of the problem. Prescription overdoses claim over 40 lives a day in the US. The CDC recently stated that, “The prescription overdose epidemic is doctor-driven.” Furthermore, “It can be reversed in part by doctor’s actions.” To support this goal, the CDC recently issued final recommendations for prescribing opioids.
Loving, healthy relationships in and of themselves have ups and downs. Some of those down times can lead to separations, break-ups, and divorce. When addiction is added to the mix, the decision to leave an addicted partner becomes even more difficult. Being in love with a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol makes any decision to distance oneself even more challenging.
The principles behind treating alcohol dependency have vastly improved and become varied over the past few years. Not judging the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous, but there are more treatment options for primary care providers to look toward. One option involve prescribing efficacious medications for alcohol dependency.