Addiction

Is tramadol a risky pain medication?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Tramadol is a unique prescription pain medicine similar to opioids. Research finds people taking it had a higher risk of dying than those taking other pain medicines. But a confounding factor may make tramadol seem more risky than it really is.

Undoing the harm: Tapering down from high-dose opioids

Scott Weiner, MD

Contributor

The CDC’s 2016 Guideline on Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain was created to help providers and patients manage medication treatment at safe levels and avoid dependence. Any plan to taper medication dosage should be personalized to the patient’s needs.

Going public with sobriety

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

Substance use disorders like alcoholism and drug addiction are stigmatized in our society, so why would someone—not just anyone, but a doctor— go public with his struggle?

Your genes and addiction

As researchers seek new ways to treat addiction as well as ways to prevent it, they are also trying to determine why some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. One such avenue of research involves the interactions of genetic and environmental factors in the brain’s reward system.

Can exercise help conquer addiction?

Claire Twark, MD

Contributor

As the US contends with the ongoing opioid epidemic, the idea that exercise can help people cope with and ultimately overcome addiction is gaining traction. Exercise helps provide structure and focus, helps treat mental health issues related to substance use, and can bring together individuals with a common goal.

Creating recovery-friendly workplaces

Nearly three-quarters of employers say they have been affected by prescription drug misuse among their employees, resulting in lost productivity. Ideas like bringing treatment, counseling, and peer support groups to worksites can help employees feel more valued and invested in their own recovery efforts.

Does addiction last a lifetime?

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

In the study of addiction and recovery, the question of whether a person who has an addiction to any substance must avoid all other potentially addictive substances has yet to be definitively answered. Alongside it, some argue that those in recovery may simply substitute one addiction for another.