Military personnel suffering from both Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) along with physical pain, are often prescribed strong medication, despite the high risk of such drugs causing addiction and potentially leading veterans to turn to drugs and alcohol.
In a research study, argued to be the first of its kind, specifically examined the correlation between veterans being prescribed strong pain killers such as morphine, and later addiction. It was reported, that returning veterans from Afghanistan an Iraq, who only reported pain from physical injuries, were less likely to be prescribed with the same high risk medication as those who were also experiencing symptoms of PTSD .
Additionally according to the study, veterans with PTSD who had a history of substance abuse were up to four times more likely to get these drugs than those without any history of mental health problems.
The authors reported that the potential effects of taking such strong and potentially addictive pain killers while also battling a harrowing anxiety disorder such as PTSD could include; suicides, other self-inflicted injuries and in particular drug and alcohol overdoses.
The results of this study highlight potential flaws in the regulations surrounding the prescription of strong and potentially addictive medication while also emphasising a need for more holistic means of treating both the mental and physical illnesses in tandem. Evidence-based mind-body therapies such as mindfulness medication, yoga, Tai chi, Chigong and biofeedback could be more appropriate treatments either alone with no side effects or in collaboration with medication.