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How to Maintain Sobriety After Major Surgery

Working hard at recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs provides a person with many victories to count. Sometimes challenges arise, causing someone to have concerns about how to handle them. When a trip to the hospital becomes part of your plan, you may be wondering how to maintain sobriety after major surgery.

Major Surgery and the Risk of Opioid Use

For many people, an addiction to prescription drugs began after they started taking them for a legitimate medical reason. It might have been a temporary or chronic condition or a surgical procedure. Being able to stop taking the medication that became problematic becomes a point of victory in the person’s recovery.

Finding out that an individual needs to have surgery can be a frightening prospect. A person’s focus may turn to the idea of using potentially dangerous prescription drugs and what that means for their recovery. 

Surgeries and post-surgical care often involve the use of opioids to control pain levels. Some of the most commonly prescribed opioid medications include:

  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Hydromorphone
  • Morphine

Opioid addiction affects approximately 10 million people, making it a family of drugs with a high risk of developing an addiction. If a person’s addiction centered on opiates and they know they will be required to use some as part of pain control, it’s imperative they discuss this with their doctor. 

Other Risks to Sobriety That Come With Major Surgery

For a lot of people, a prescription drug commonly used to treat mood disorders put them on the path to addiction. Benzodiazepines, often referred to as “benzos”, are used to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression, along with insomnia. Common benzo medications include:

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Librium
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin
  • Restoril
  • Halcion
  • Dalmane

Millions of prescriptions for benzos are written each year, often in combination with ones for opioids. The American Psychiatric Association reports that approximately one in eight adults in the U.S. use at least one benzodiazepine drug per year. About one in six of those prescriptions resulted in misuse or abuse of the drug. 

Having major surgery can cause a person to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety or elevate the amount and intensity of the ones they already experience. The need for regular sleep proves a big part of recovering from major surgery. The two issues may cause a physician to want to put a patient on a benzo to help with mood disorders and insomnia. 

Why It’s Important to Talk to Your Doctor

Whatever reason a patient has to be concerned about how to maintain sobriety after major surgery, they need to speak candidly with their doctor before the procedure happens. The doctor should have a full picture of a patient’s medication and addiction history. This will allow the doctor to weigh this information against the person’s needs and to make informed choices. Knowing about the history of a substance use disorder may assist the doctor in adjusting the types and amounts of post-surgical medications they choose to use.

The doctor will also know they may need to provide specific information for their patient, such as signs to look for that a medication has become problematic. The doctor may also establish a check-in routine so that the patient updates them on how they are tolerating the drug. 

A patient and doctor should make sure that they understand there is more than just the risk for newly-ignited drug addiction. Some people may fear this occurring so much that they do not take one or more of their prescription drugs at all. Avoiding necessary pharmaceutical treatments, especially without informing their doctor they are doing so, can result in serious health complications. 

Explore Holistic Treatment Alternatives

Holistic therapy can offer a host of ways to help alleviate pain and elevate a person’s mood after surgery. While some prescription medications may still be necessary, learning how to maintain sobriety after major surgery often includes looking into what holistic treatments you can use to give yourself a well-rounded plan. This plan can address both recovery from surgery and still living a sober life. 

Types of holistic treatments that provide benefits for physical and/or mental conditions include: 

Yoga: One in seven adults in the U.S. enjoys practicing yoga each year. Yoga aids in achieving better physical and mental health. Yoga can help relieve symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Its ability to help a person achieve strength, endurance, and flexibility in their bodies can help reduce symptoms of pain.

Acupuncture: This involves the ancient art of inserting tiny needles in strategic points of the body. Most people experience little or no pain during the procedure. Acupuncture has been proven to help alleviate medical symptoms including headaches, back and neck pain, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also has been proven to help relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings for drugs for people in recovery from addiction. 

Meditation: Practicing meditation helps a person learn to tune out negativity and achieve a more balanced and peaceful state of mind. The focus on breathing helps elevate a person’s mood and can make dealing with pain more manageable. 

Art-Related Therapy: Engaging in the creative arts as part of a therapy-related program can help a person focus on something outside of their pain or medical condition. Many licensed counselors are trained in fields such as art therapy and music therapy. Even working independently on a creative project can help a person feel less stressed and depressed, as well as get their minds off their physical health for short periods of time.

Drug Addiction Treatment in Texas

If you struggle with addiction to alcohol or drugs, Casa Colina can provide you with the right setting to get you focused on recovery. Our men-only treatment facility in the Dallas area is both homey and luxurious, giving you the perfect location for residential treatment for a substance use disorder and any accompanying mental health issues. We provide medical supervision and multiple types of therapy that treat the entire person.
Contact Casa Colina today for more information and to find out how we can change your life.

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