A chronic illness such as hemophilia can be debilitating both physically and emotionally. Growing up with hemophilia may lead to bullying and overprotective parents which can be overwhelming for any child. Having to sit out of sports and being aware of even slight risks of bodily injury can cause depression even at a young age. If people grow up with depression and anxiety due to hemophilia, they may be more likely to abuse prescription drugs.
Hemophilia may lead to chronic pain due to bleeding excessively or arthritis, and managing pain may be a long-term effort for any patient. This may lead to dependence and addiction due to long-term use, or individuals may intentionally abuse prescription drugs as a way to cope with the anxiety of having hemophilia. However, there are ways you can overcome these problems if you seek specialized help that addresses both addiction and issues related to hemophilia.
Why Prescription Drug Abuse Harms People with Hemophilia
Individuals with hemophilia are often advised to avoid ibuprofen, aspirin and other over-the-counter medications that thin the blood. Those who abuse prescription drugs may become addicted and eventually use blood-thinning substances despite the inherent risks. Addiction changes brain chemistry and leads to compulsive behavior, causing a person to go to extremes to abuse drugs, even when he is aware of the danger.
Abusing prescription drugs will not get rid of depression, and they may make depression worse in the long run. Hemophilia makes an addiction to prescription painkillers and chronic pain harder to treat, and they increase the chances of debilitating complications later in life. Addiction may do more damage than hemophilia, which increases the odds of compulsive behavior that may lead to serious injury.
Alternative Pain Treatment for People with Hemophilia
Using alternative methods to treat pain may help prevent depression and addiction in individuals with hemophilia. The RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method may be underused by hemophiliacs suffering from joint pain, but is an effective way to reduce discomfort due to bleeds or arthritis. Other naturopathic methods for pain relief include acupuncture and yoga.
While individuals with hemophilia may avoid physical activity, this can be detrimental in the long run. Light exercise will increase mobility and strengthen joints and muscles, which may help reduce pain and prevent injury. Exercise is also a great natural way to treat anxiety and depression. By using alternative pain treatment, prescription drug use may be reduced and the potential for abuse minimized.