UNDERSTANDING A LINK BETWEEN PAIN AND ADDICTION
- March 19, 2019
From the moment we are born, we start to feel different forms of pain, ranging from rapid musculoskeletal development during our childhood years to the familiar ache of injuries during middle age. However, as we continue to grow, we learn to cope with this natural pain in a variety of ways. For example, women may take NSAIDS to alleviate menstrual cramps, while men may go through physical therapy due to sports injuries. However, did you know that a key component in the brain that is connected to our pain detection might also play a role in addiction? Let’s take a closer look and find out what the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has discovered.
Motivation to Seek Pleasure
As NIDA reports, patients who are coping with severe forms of pain will eventually drop into a negative emotional state, which can lead to a seemingly instinctive urge to take opioids. In some cases, the patients may accidentally overdose as a result of this desperation. However, as shown in a Neuron report, NIDA researchers identified an internal opioid network inside the brain called dynorphin/kappa opioid receptors (KORs). Remarkably, by activating the KORs, the desire to seek out pleasure and relief diminishes, which is a commonality among patients experiencing negative behavior.
It’s All in the KORs
As NIDA further illustrates, blocking these opioid receptors (situated in the nucleus accumbens) will put a damper on the emotional side of pain. As our bodies detect inflammation, the KORs increase their signals, exciting the dynorphin neurons.
Overall, the process is simple. Activating the dynorphin neurons intensifies the emotional aspects of inflammatory pain, while calming the dynorphin neurons results in an alleviation of this pain.
Ultimately, this research has revealed how the relationship between the dynorphin neurons and the KOR unit may play a vital role in pain management.
Seeking Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder is easily one of the most terrifying substance use disorders on the planet, mostly because opioid addiction partially stems from a large number of drugs that are legally regulated by the federal government. For decades, our country has suffered beneath the weight of dangerous synthetics and legal painkillers, and millions of Americans have suffered from addiction throughout the 20 years the crisis has been brewing. However, you can make the right decision by taking a stand against your addiction and regaining your health and happiness.
If you are suffering from a severe case of drug addiction, or have a friend or loved one who is coping with this illness, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts will help you endure the painful process of opioid withdrawal and detox and guide you along the rocky road of rehabilitation. Soon enough, you will experience a faster and much more efficient recovery.
If you want to find out more about our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs or enroll in one of these programs today, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your leisure and your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how you can overcome your mental illness and take an extra step toward becoming a healthier person.