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20% of Americans Deal With Chronic Pain According to New Analysis

chronic pain, prescription pain medication abuse

chronic pain, prescription pain medication abuse

A recent analysis shows that approximately one out of five American adults deal with chronic pain for extended periods of time. This complicates the issue of prescription pain medication abuse, because many Americans have a legitimate need for proper pain management yet the risks of prescription pain medication are so high that many physicians choose not to prescribe these drugs, referring patients to pain management specialists instead. According to researchers the number of adults in the USA who deal with persistent pain numbers around 39 million. According to Washington State University Spokane health policy and administration professor Jae Kennedy, Ph.D., “A sizeable portion of American adults are dealing with persistent pain and that’s affecting their lives profoundly. Access to good pain management for this population is limited, and there’s a real risk that taking short-term pain medications for a long period of time will lead to dependency or addiction.”

The latest chronic pain analysis results were published and are available in the Journal of Pain. In order to be considered a chronic pain patient, which raises the risk of prescription pain medication abuse, survey respondents had to suffer from pain that occurred on a daily or almost every day schedule for a minimum of 3 months. 35,000 American households were surveyed by the the National Center for Health Statistics. Professor Kennedy continued with “I don’t think that half of the population is dealing with chronic pain in the sense that we would describe chronic pain as a risk factor for deteriorating mental health and substance abuse. So we wanted to come up with a subset of chronic pain that focused on something that we could look at across different chronic conditions rather than saying, ‘OK, if you’ve got arthritis, then you’ve got chronic pain. By focusing on persistent pain health policy makers and providers can get a clearer sense of pain’s economic and social costs. Persistent pain is going to have the biggest impact on people’s daily lives,. If you’re dealing with pain constantly for a long period of time, that’s going to affect your work life, your family life, your social life. It also puts you at higher risk for things like mental illness and addiction.”

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