The United States is in the thick of an opioid crisis. In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the situation a Public Health Emergency, citing the fact that more than 140 Americans die each day from overdoses.
Opioids come in multiple forms, from the insidious heroin to painkillers prescribed in good faith by a doctor. It is the latter type that is increasingly being used by aging adults in the United States. This seems to fall in line with the fact that “81 percent of adults over 65 endure multiple chronic conditions such as arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. There also can be emotional pain from the loss of relatives and close friends, and concerns about the continued ability to live independently.”
It is typically not the over-65 set that is abusing opioids; however, “the population of older adults who misuse opioids is projected to double from 2004 to 2020.” There are a few important reasons for this expected rise among the elderly:
- Multiple surgeries may result in long term use of pain medication, which increases the odds of misuse
- Some adults take more painkillers than they are supposed to, if the drugs aren’t reducing the pain effectively
- Older adults often face more barriers to getting the medications they need, for a variety of reasons. As a result, they may resort to obtaining prescriptions from friends or family without proper instructions
- Over the course of a person’s lifetime, even small injuries can add up over time, leading to a severe pain syndrome later in life
A new poll conducted by the University of Michigan, which surveyed 2,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 80, reveals that there may be an even bigger contributor to the problem: a lack of explanation by doctors to their elderly patients about the risks associated with prescription pain medications.
Of the survey respondents, “the majority didn’t recall their doctors or pharmacists talking about the risk of addiction, the risk of overdose, or what to do with leftover pills. About 40 percent said their doctors didn’t talk to them about the side effects of opioid use or guide them on when to cut back on pain medications.”
It is important to note that lack of information shouldn’t necessarily bear the brunt of the blame: “Growing older often also means it’s harder to absorb information, interpret numbers, and do calculations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The survey results do not tell us whether the risks weren’t communicated or whether the patients forgot. Regardless of the source of miscommunication, aging adults are at risk of misusing opioids – and the results can be dire.
Alpha-Stim® is a fast, safe, and effective treatment for acute, post-traumatic and chronic pain. It is not a drug – it is a handheld medical device that is easy to use for patients of all ages. Alpha-Stim works better and costs less than commonly prescribed pain medications.
Because Alpha-Stim is not a drug, there is no risk of addiction or the lasting side effects of prescription drugs. Additionally, the effects of Alpha-Stim are cumulative. Whereas many medications require increased dosages to remain effective, patients may find that they need less frequent Alpha-Stim treatments over time.
Alpha-Stim delivers Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET) directly to the site of pain using two handheld Smart Probes. It also uses Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), through Earclip Electrodes, to treat insomnia. Pain relief is long lasting and often immediate, with 9 out of 10 users experiencing significant relief.
Don’t let age slow you down. You don’t have to live with pain – or the side effects associated with medications – just because you are getting older. Get started today, and let Alpha-Stim help you enjoy your golden years to their fullest.