Utilizing prescription drugs to alleviate physical pain is a standard medical intervention. When the medication is no longer effective or the patient finds him- or herself needing the prescription after the pain is gone, prescribed use of the drug can become abuse. But what is the underlying cause of drug abuse? Is it simply the power of the drug, or is the drug abuse a symptom of something else?
Helping a military client understand he or she has become addicted to prescription medications can be difficult. The client may picture an addict as someone living on the streets and buying illegal drugs. He or she may argue that, because a doctor prescribed the medication, the client could not become addicted to it. It is imperative that social workers have an understanding of pain management and interventions that work with military personnel who have become addicted to drugs. Understanding other factors—including psychological injury—that may lead a client down this path is equally imperative. In this Discussion, you take a holistic approach to assessing the interplay between physical and psychological injury.
To prepare for this Discussion, read the case study, “Working with Trauma and Prescription Drugs: The Case of Darby,” located in the Learning Resources.
Post (2 to 3 pages)
- Propose a plan, utilizing the case study as a template, to respond to a military member, or to the family of a military member, who is experiencing both a physical and a psychological injury.
Nash, W. P., & Litz, B. T. (2013). Moral injury: A mechanism for war-related psychological trauma in military family members. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 16(4), 365–375. doi:10.1007/s10567-013-0146-y
Hoge, C. W., Grossman, S. H., Auchterlonie, J. L., Riviere, L. A., Milliken, C. S., & Wilk, J. E. (2014). PTSD treatment for soldiers after combat deployment: Low utilization of mental health care and reasons for dropout. Psychiatric Services, 65(8), 997–1004. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201300307
Cifu, D. X., Scholten, J., & Campbell, E. H. (2013). Traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, and pain diagnoses in OIF/OEF/OND veterans. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 50(9), 1169–1176. doi:10.1682/JRRD.2013.01.0006