« Unmedicine Home
topics_header lab_bottles

"Addiction to Pain Medication:
Rush Limbaugh"

Rush Limbaugh's addiction to pain medications brings a problem to the fore that has not been squarely faced: pain medications, along with many other medications, can be routinely addictive. This is a general response of the human brain, although some brains are clearly more susceptible than others. This is simply a fact. So would Rush Limbaugh like to reconsider his blanket denunciation that drug abusers be put in jail? If rehab is the right place for people like him, does that not also hold for others less exalted? Unfortunately, the rehab center to which he is going probably does not yet offer Neurofeedback. It should. Neurofeedback has shown unmatched efficacy in dealing with addiction of all kinds for which it has been tested.

Although no study has been done on addiction to pain medication specifically, there is no reason to think that this case would be different. Neurofeedback has been shown effective for heroin addiction, for example, and heroin is second cousin to morphine, which is routinely used in pain management. We have also had specific examples of recovery from addiction to pain medication in the course of our work. If we put all of the evidence together on Neurofeedback for addictions, on alcoholism, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, pain medications, and prescription anxiolytics, it becomes clear that we have in neurofeedback a technique that affects the “final common pathway” of addiction, the reward circuitry of the brain. And it appears to do so irrespective of how the reward system got neurochemically skewed in the first place.

So Rush Limbaugh should be doing Neurofeedback. And so should the half million people in our various prisons, many of whom got drummed into prison because of the hateful speech of people like Limbaugh about drug abuse. This of course is not likely. Some years ago, Limbaugh even ridiculed the very idea of Neurofeedback on his radio program. He had obviously not looked into it, but why bother? It was ridiculous on its face.

The connection we see between pain medication and addiction allows us to make a more fundamental observation. Much of addiction in general can be looked at less in terms of a search for euphoria and more in terms of search for pain relief! If we enlarge our conceptions about pain to include "psychic pain," then it is possible to see the attraction of illicit drugs in large measure as a relief from psychic pain and the pervasive discomfort of anxiety.

The abuse potential of anxiolytics and pain medications has become an ethical issue within the medical community itself. One response to this ethical dilemma is to meter out the pain medications quite sparingly. This results in significant under-treatment of pain. What sense does it make, for example, to be sparing in pain medication for the cancer victim at the end of life because the person might get addicted? On the other hand, what sense does it make to flog the marijuana user who gains the benefit in terms of nausea or the prevention of seizures?

If the society truly wants to eliminate the medical utilization of marijuana, it should adopt Neurofeedback. We have consistently observed clinically that persons using marijuana to deal with their own anxieties or other symptoms will quite simply drop the marijuana once their brains no longer need it. Nobody will have forced their hand. Nobody will have made it an ethical issue. It just falls away. Once their brains get better regulated through Neurofeedback, there will simply no longer be the attraction to the marijuana.

This is of course the answer to the problem of addiction in general. We must acknowledge the problem of both physical and psychic pain. As a first imperative, we must confront suffering. This needs to be done with a combination of Neurofeedback and medications. And if the resort to certain medications means accepting a measure of drug dependency, so be it. That's why we have gatekeepers for these medications. Our first obligation is to relieve suffering. We just have to also offer a path out of any such dependency if it develops, and that is offered once again by Neurofeedback. There is a compelling moral imperative here to make available the self-regulation remedy, in which people can train their brains out of pain, out of anxiety, and out of drug dependency.

One other message that follows from the above is the close kinship between the role of prescribed medications for pain and anxiety and the role of illicit drugs, to which people repair when they are not getting red-carpet medical treatment. Illicit drugs are a poor attempt at a self-managed remedy. The answer is a better regime of self-regulation: Neurofeedback.

Can somebody tell this to Rush Limbaugh?


With Regard to Drugs  »
With Regard to Medicine  »
The Good News  »
What is Possible...  »
What is the Solution?  »
What are Examples of the
Self-Regulation Remedy?
Shock Therapy?
You Must Be Kidding.
"Sense and Nonsense about Autism: Beyond Genetics"
by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D.
"The Medication Merry-Go-Round"
by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D.
"Ritalin Stunts the Growth of Children, as Long Suspected"   »
"Addiction to Pain Medication: Rush Limbaugh"   »
"Ethical Issues in Research Design"  »
ADD The 20-Hour Solution
by Mark Steinberg, Ph.D.
and Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D.
EEG Info   »
EEG Research   »
EEG Institute   »
The Brian Othmer Foundation   »
EEG 4 Veterans   »
Help My Migraine   »
© 2007 EEG Info