Drug use is much like banging your head against a brick wall to relieve emotional tension and then doing it again and again to relieve both the tension and the pain resulting from having hit your head on the wall.
When doctors prescribe drugs for chronic pain, hitting the pain with opioids creates much the same situation. Yes, drug use provides temporary relief – but only leads to more pain. People will continue to be locked into the cycle of addiction to both illicit and prescription drugs until the causes and meaning of pain in the body are better understood.
The experience of pain means that a sensory input has been traumatic – at an emotional or physical level healing needs to take place. The body and mind have systems to deal with and heal from painful life events. Everything that we “feel” is relayed by sensory neurons to different parts of the body that then act appropriately. Mild discomfort is moderated through the brain – we have an itch but choose not to scratch it – knowing that scratching will only bring temporary relief and interfere with healing.
Intense pain makes us compulsive – we want to control our pain and master it – we cannot abide the discomfort. Our attitude to and ability bear pain depends a lot upon our understanding of it. People complain about seat belt bruises without considering the pain of landing on the bitumen on the other side of the windscreen. The inflammation around the site of trauma feels painful but it is a healthy reaction. The discomfort makes a person shield the wound and the swelling protects and floods the area with what is needed to enable recovery. Chronic inflammation is not an illness of the body, needing medication, simply a response to long term traumatic input and constant irritation.
When neurons signal distress from trauma, including drug use, the brain and spinal column together with the immune system provide a regime of neural support. Cells known as glia, astrocytes and the immunity enhancing cytokines all activate to bring healing of nerve and tissue damage and relief from extreme pain. Problems with natural healing and recovery from pain happen when there is interference with the natural healing process. Drug use inhibits the process of natural healing and recovery from trauma. Drug use however well intentioned just adds more stress. Stress in general inhibits the ability of the body to relax and heal itself.
Drug users complain when the body tries to eliminate the drug and regain good health. They actually blame the body for their need to take higher doses when the body starts to defend itself by disabling the toxic power of the drug. They are not happy to suffer the first symptoms of recovery -the mood swings, dysphoria and physical pain that happen in drug withdrawal, as the body slowly regains equilibrium. People addicted to the use of drugs don’t see that the causes and symptoms of addiction are only the result of their need to use drugs in opposition to attempts by the body to rid itself of the toxic load.
Drugs to disable the interference of glia, astrocytes and cytokine with our drug use will soon be on the market. Do you want a prescription from your doctor next time you feel in pain – or will your choice be to get holistic help for natural relief and recovery. The quality of our future will be very much dependent upon whether we choose symptomatic relief or to support good health and natural balance in our body.