In 1996 I began developing the first clinical skills training for Addiction Free Pain Management®. I conducted research to see if I could find information about people who had chronic pain and co-existing addiction, but was unable to find much written at that time. What I did find was a lot of data about people with addiction and an fairly equal amount of information about people who had chronic pain. It was difficult to find research that addressed someone who suffered with both conditions so I decided to do my own research of addiction programs and pain clinics.
When I surveyed addiction programs to find out what happened to people who had an addictive disorder and chronic pain, I discovered their entire focus was on the addictive disorder, and the patient’s pain was not adequately addressed. Addiction programs struggled when someone with chronic pain came into their program.
When I surveyed pain clinics to find out about people who had chronic pain and a co-existing addiction, I found that their entire focus was on the physiological pain. Pain clinics found it difficult to deal with patients who were acting out with their addiction. This was an important learning experience for me and realized that the focus needed to be on concurrent treatment for both the pain and the addiction.
Addiction treatment programs cover about a third of the problem (the Addictive Disorder Zone) when dealing with a chronic pain patient. The pain clinics cover a different third of the problem (the Pain Disorder Zone). When each of the above modalities is implemented independently they miss about two thirds of the problem.
Some progress is definitely made when addiction treatment centers recognize the need and refer a patient to a pain specialist, or when pain clinics refer a patient to an addiction specialist. But still, only about two thirds of the patient’s needs are being addressed (both the Addictive Disorder Zone and the Pain Disorder Zone). What about the third zone?
The third zone in the diagram is what I coined the Addiction Pain Syndrome™ Zone which is a combination of the Pain Disorder Zone the Addiction Pain Syndrome Zone. The addictive disorder leads to one universe of biopsychosocial problems, and the pain disorder leads to a different set of problems. In the Addiction Pain Syndrome Zone negative consequences more than double. 1 + 1 no longer equals 2, rather 1+ 1 now equals 3 or more. This is called synergism.
Addiction-Free Pain Management® (APM) is a synergistic treatment system. APM™ concurrently addresses The Addictive Disorder Zone, the Pain Disorder Zone, and the Addiction Pain Syndrome Zone and teaches treatment providers how to more effectively deal with patients who have both conditions.
If you want to learn more about the Addiction Pain Syndrome™ you can find my article Understanding the Addiction Pain Syndrome™ that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.
If you want to learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System please check out our website at www.addiction-free.com. To learn more about how to develop an effective chronic pain management plan please go to our Publications page and check out my book The Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide. To look for my upcoming trainings please go to our Calendar page.
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