Dealing with Chronic Pain

Dopesick is a drama miniseries on Hulu and I believe on Disney Plus. The eight-part drama series is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Beth Macy,  examining the dreadful causes and effects of the opioid crisis unleashed in large part on the United States by Purdue Pharma, and its “non-addictive” painkiller OxyContin.  This series looks into the lives of people living in a small mining town and shows the progression of addiction throughout many members of the town, including the Dr. prescribing the medication. It also shows how Purdue Pharma was able to continue producing this drug even with a black box warning label from the FDA. The series does jump around quite a bit but, in the end, you will see how it all comes together.

What is Chronic Pain? 

Chronic pain is a real thing that many people suffer from daily.  According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic pain is pain that lasts for over three months. The pain can be there all the time, or it may come and go. It can happen anywhere in your body.

Chronic pain can interfere with your daily activities, such as working, having a social life and taking care of yourself or others. It can lead to depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping, which can make your pain worse. This response creates a cycle that’s difficult to break.


Addiction is also a real thing that many people suffer from.  So how do we treat pain without forming addictions?? This has been an ongoing issue concerning many professionals, clients,  patients, doctors etc. After watching this series one thing stood out to me — “go with your gut.” So often people in this show questioned the doctors and Purdue about the addictive properties of this drug and were somehow convinced it was safe.

I encourage people to do their own research about all things that involve them,  whether that be your physical health,  mental health,  financial health, or spiritual health.  Do not take things at face value and be open to different perspectives. Also, it showed the use of distraction, exercise, journaling,  mindfulness activities,  support groups,  rehab, medication treatment, and one of the most important factors — support, whether that be from family, friends, or co-workers.

The opioid epidemic is still alive and well in this country. More than 760,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Two out of three drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved an opioid. In 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year. Specifically, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers (HHS.GOV/ OPIOIDS). There is help. There are detox programs,  medication treatment, group therapy, individual therapy and many support groups for all kinds of addiction, as well as treatment for families of addicts or those who have lost a loved one due to addiction.

For more information and resources in your area reach out to:


About Jessica Carroll: 

As a recent Graduate from Capella University’s Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, Jessica is now a Resident in working toward state licensure for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Jessica is an active member of the Chi Sigma Iota International Honor Society of Professional Counseling, as well as the American Counseling Association. 

Jessica received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Counseling in 2004. She has 14 years experience working in the counseling field. This includes working in a group home for severely abused and neglected children with an array of behavioral diagnoses. Jessica has also worked with adolescents with substance abuse concerns. Jessica is familiar with depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD as well as, mental health skill building, life coaching, parent partnership, and crisis intervention. To learn more about Jessica, visit HERE

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