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Neurology Now:
doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000365447.53465.07
Departments: Letters

Facing Down Stigma

Sleith, Eric A. III, LPCC, NCC, ACS

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Licensed & Board Certified Counselor

In the September/October 2009 issue of Neurology Now, Dr. Brey wrote, “If there are any myths you would like to dispel or ways that someone you know has positively dealt with stigma associated with medical illness, please let us know.”

I am amazed at how many people—physicians included—do not know the difference between “addiction” and “physical dependency” in reference to the use of pain-relieving medications. In my opinion, the whole class of drugs containing opioids has been given a bad name, and too many doctors label and stigmatize chronic pain patients as “drug seekers” without any evidence. They fear misuse to such an extent that many patients suffer from acute and/or chronic pain without appropriate intervention.

Eric A. Sleith III, LPCC, NCC, ACS

Licensed & Board Certified Counselor

©2009 American Academy of Neurology

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