Pain and addiction

Ilana Crome

in Pain in Older People

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199212613
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199606924 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Pain Management Library Series Opml P

Pain and addiction

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  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Pain Medicine


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• Considerable numbers of older people are misusing tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, over-the-counter medications, and prescribed medications. • Physicians lack confidence in the assessment and treatment of these conditions. • Substance problems are unrecognized and under-treated in older people. • Addictive behaviour needs to be taken seriously in older people presenting with pain. • Thorough assessment of pain should take account of the physical, psychological, and social components of the background. • Assessment should include a high index of suspicion about current or potential addictive behaviour, development of substance problems or dependence (addiction). • There are specific diagnostic criteria for the differentiation of harmful substance use and dependence (addiction). • Treatment choices depend on the ability to make the distinction between harmful use and dependence. • Treatment interventions for addiction problems are effective. • Treatment of addiction problems may be even more effective in older people than in younger age groups. • Treatment of the addict in pain is best undertaken by a multidisciplinary team.

Chapter.  7102 words. 

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine ; Pain Medicine

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