What happens when a doctor realizes that their patient is recovering for the wrong reasons? What happens when a doctor cannot identify symptoms of a patient’s relapse? Where do the responsibilities of the physician end?
In this article, Dr. Anna Lembke provides insight into the machinations of an opioid addict’s mind and her own.
Pro-Voices—Inside the Mind of An Addiction Medicine Physician
Dr. Anna Lembke caused quite a stir in 2012 when her perspective piece Why Doctors Prescribe Opioids to Known Opioid Users was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In it, she delivered a no-holds-barred accounting of the reasons why patients with histories of addiction receive opioid pain medication from physicians. Here she helps us see behind closed doors in the clinical practice of addiction medicine, as she grapples with a variety of forces that factor in to her decision-making in providing care to a well-known patient.
As I scanned the schedule of patients I would be seeing that day, my eyes hovered on my 10 am visit – Sophie. I felt a warm glow as I anticipated meeting with her. I’d been seeing her for more than 2 years, and I liked to think that my initial involvement in her care propelled her into recovery. She’d been addicted to prescription stimulants, opioids, and benzodiazepines when she first came through my clinic, telling herself and anyone else who would listen that her use was legitimized by her ADHD, lower back pain, and anxiety. See full post here
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