Australian Health Psychologists Combat Pain Killer Addiction

Australian Psychological Society, College of Health Psychologists

The Australian Psychological Society, College of Health Psychologists will hold a national forum on Tuesday 29th October to highlight concern at the increasing rate of addiction to pharmaceutical pain killers in Australia.

Dianne Perrett-Abrahams, a Health Psychologist with many years of clinical experience, will address the forum on the topic of “Rising prescription opioid deaths”.

Dianne said “In the US, senior health officials have stated that rising deaths from opioid pain killers is probably the biggest public health issue in terms of mortality in the past half century. Australia is also experiencing rising addiction to opioid pain killers, and rising rates of deaths”

“What is lacking is access to health psychologists and other professionals who can provide reliable advice on effective psychological pain management, which can reduce reliance on addictive pharmaceutical pain killers”

“Most pain killers have the unhelpful consequence of causing changes in our nervous system that increase sensitivity to pain. As soon as we use pain killers, the body responds such that higher doses are required in order to experience pain relief. Over time, these changes result in addiction to pain killers, which is very difficult to overcome. Australia’s over-reliance on pharmaceutical pain killers has resulted in ignorance of psychological and behavioural skills that are effective and safe alternatives for addressing pain”

Dr Mike Shelley a Health Psychologist specialising in pain management said “a range of Australian studies show there are literally 1000’s of people addicted to pharmaceutical pain killers and they are in a desperate situation with few services available to meet there needs. The College of Health Psychologists has launched a campaign to work with other professions to increase awareness of the psychological and behavioural approaches that are effective in controlling and reducing pain. At the heart of effective pain management are the skills to relax our bodies while gradually returning to physical activity and healthy lifestyles”.

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