Treatment for Addictions to Pain Medicine


While anyone can develop an addiction to pain medication, athletes in particular are at an increased risk for this particular kind of substance abuse. The injuries that you encounter as an athlete have negative impacts on both your short-term and long-term health. The daily wear and tear on your body not only affects your ability to play at your best but can carry on into retirement, causing you to experience long-term chronic pain. Many coaches want to get their best players off the bench and back into the game as quickly as possible and so injuries are often treated too quickly, which can lead to re-injury or eventual career ending injuries. In some instances when an athlete’s career is cut short, pain medication is used not only to lessen the physical pain, but to numb themselves from the feelings of no longer being able to play the sport they love. With injuries that may have not been properly treated, the drive to be the best player they can be, and the inability to cope with emotional pain after retirement, pain medication abuse can quickly turn into an addiction.

Athletes Recovery is dedicated to providing athletes a private, confidential treatment approach for pain medication abuse that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of professional and collegiate athletes – active and retired. The treatment we provide for our patients is rooted in the principles of recovery, placing extra emphasis upon spiritual, emotional, and personal growth. Our goal is to transform the lives of those we treat as they begin their journey toward recovery.


Why Seek Treatment at Athletes Recovery?

If you have been using pain medications for a prolonged period of time, you may have noticed that days where you don’t need to take these meds are few and far in between. If you are a current athlete, you may have suffered an injury and, not wanting to be seen as a weak player, relied on the effects of pain killers to get you back in the game as soon as possible. However, by not treating the underlying cause of the pain and allowing time for your injury to fully heal, you may now be struggling with chronic pain. The need for large doses of pain meds for long periods of time can cause long term damage that will still be around long after you have left the sport. Additionally, the longer you abuse these medications, the more they are going to begin affecting all areas of your life. Some individuals may have already noticed that they are starting to have problems within their personal relationships, that your health is not what it used to be, and that eventually you may have become addicted to the euphoric feelings that these drugs produce.

Once an athlete has become addicted to pain medication, it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to stop taking the drugs without assistance. Research has shown that inpatient treatment programs can be a very effective approach for many individuals who are struggling with a substance abuse addiction. In addition to a number of different therapeutic approaches, an inpatient program can provide an athlete with the support system they need to overcome their addiction. Through an inpatient program, an individual can learn better coping skills, pain management, and is provided with time needed to work through any emotional pain they may be struggling with. When you enter into a rehab program you will be able to get away from the pressure of everyday life and place all of your energy into your recovery.

Program Philosophy and Benefits

Athletes Recovery is a private, confidential program that is specifically tailored to current and retired athletes who are struggling with the challenges of their unique career. Our culturally-competent, compassionate, and experienced treatment staff works hard to provide each client with an individualized client-centered plan of care that meets the personal needs of each athlete we treat. Our treatment places a strong emphasis on strength and accountability of team and our services are based upon the mental and physical regimes our athletes are inherently familiar with. We want each patient to leave our program knowing that they have had the best experience imaginable.

If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Treatment Options at Athletes Recovery

Before starting the treatment process, each athlete will have an individual assessment completed with one of our specialists in order for us to determine the client’s exact needs. Once this process is complete, a treatment plan will be developed based upon the results that will lay out your plan of care for your stay. We will make sure to include you in this process, taking into account any concerns you may have and answering all of your questions. Your personalized treatment plan may include some of the following therapeutic approaches:

Detoxification will be your first stop in the inpatient program if you have become physically dependent upon pain medication and any other substances. Our medical team will provide medically-monitored detox, which will allow us to safely and comfortably remove any drugs in your system as we monitor you for safety and comfort. Once this process is complete you will be able to fully engage in the treatment process.

Individual therapy will allow you to confidentially discuss the challenges you are facing with your pain killer abuse and to begin working through some of the problems your addiction has caused in your life. With a therapist you will be able to explore the unique difficulties faced by athletes and work on ways to cope without drugs.

Group therapy can be extremely beneficial as it will provide you with the opportunity to work with other athletes who understand the challenges you may be facing. As a team, you will build off of one another to develop better coping skills, identify triggers, and how to prevent relapse.

Family therapy is a very important part of the treatment process as drug addiction tends to affect the family as a whole. Some athletes may have spent a majority of their time on the road or may be newly retired and need to once again learn how to integrate back into family life. Family therapy can open lines of communication and let everyone express how they are feeling about the addiction. Additionally, we will help family members understand the disease of addiction and how they can best be of help to you during your time of need.

In addition to traditional therapy, Athletes Recovery is proud to offer a number of additional treatment approaches designed to for our athletes. These may include:

  • Exercise and weights
  • Prayer and meditation
  • Physical therapy
  • A.A. and N.A.
  • Nutrition
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga

Continuing Care

When your stay in the inpatient program comes to an end you will work with your team to determine your next step of treatment and develop an after care plan. Some of our athletes find that they would do best in a sober living facility, where they will be able to practice their newfound sobriety skills and slowly adapt to life without drugs. Others may feel that they have made enough progress to continue their recovery on an outpatient basis in either a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or intensive outpatient program (IOP). Both PHP and IOP programs allow our athletes the opportunity to work on their therapy during the day while slowly reintegrating back into their community in the evenings. Finally, others may discharge home with a sober coach, referrals to traditional outpatient therapy, and references for community resources. Whatever you determine is the next best step for you, Athletes Recovery will be there to support you.