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Pastors and Pain Rx. Addiction

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by scubablt, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. scubablt

    scubablt New Member

    Nov 6, 2004
    Does anyone have any experience related to pastors/stafff ministers being physically and psychologically addicted to Prescription pain medicine? The situation I am referring to involves a fellow minister who has a legitimate need for Pain Rx. due to a serious back injury (suffered at the church of all things!) After treatment, surgery, and more, he still has great pain and has to take Pain Rx. to simply make it thru the day. He is still serving a full-time position and does a great job overall. No one knows (except his wife, Dr., and me) that he takes the Rx. He has tried to cut down and tried to get off, but the pain is too intense, and he says the withdrawal problems/battles are absoluteley too hard to deal with -- he suffers with all the withdrawal problems you hear about when he runs low or runs out of Rx or tries to cut down... headaches, jittery legs and body, stomach problems, extreme/MAJOR depression, sweats, yawns, cannot sleep at all, tosses and turns like a fish out of water when he does try to lay down, constantly things about the Rx and getting a refill when the time comes, etc.

    If anyone has any experience that I can pass on to him I would appreciate it very much. I simply do not know what to do to help him. I have tired to get him to talk to a counslero but he says it is not a good time to do so. He fears he will lose his church if it is found out(?) He is still working and doing all the duties of a pastor of a large church and does a very good job. I only wish I could do that well! It does not appear that it effects his work, but he has been taking the pain Rx. for about three years or more, and it seems to be escalating. He says the situation is getting much worse and not better Any help will be appreciated.

  2. Johnv

    Johnv New Member

    Oct 24, 2001
    scubablt , he needs to get back to see his physycian to help him with this issue. Clearly, the need for medication is there. However, the side affect of the medication is that it's addictive. If he wants to lower his medication, for whatever reason, he needs to see a physician to help him do this. No one here can simply give him advice that will make the issue resolve itself. He needs a medical professional to help him with this.

    We can offer him prayers, though.
  3. Pastor J

    Pastor J New Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    A couple words of advice from someone who went through 10 years of back pain. Ibuprofen stopped working for me many years ago. I was never at his level, but I did get addicted to Ibuprofen. I was taking 800mg 4-5 times a day.

    1. Seek out Medical help. My wife made the doctors appointment that changed my life and then made sure that her and my family got me to go.
    2. The doctor can prescribe a new medication for the short term to help with the pain until the medical condition can be dealt with.
    3. He will go through withdrawal. The good news is that it usually only takes a few days for the headaches and shakes to go away.
    4. He will need support through this time, just like any other addict. Make sure he knows that there is nothing for him to be ashamed of. This sort of thing is more common than one might think. Someone will have to take all the medications out of his possession and administer what the doctor gives only.

    I hope this helps
  4. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member

    Jun 26, 2003
    I know that when I was pastoring the medical insurance would have been about double compared to what I am paying now not being a pastor being self employed.
  5. exscentric

    exscentric Active Member

    May 24, 2004
    This is a hard issue. We have a church in town where the pastor (addicted to pain pills) actually calls people he knows haven't taken all their prescription pain killers and asks for them.

    His church split over it but he is like the eveready bunny, he just keeps going after the pills. Evidently the remaining members are okay with his addiction.

    Not meaning to be mean spirited but my question is, if this is an addiction, is it not a shortcoming in relation to qualification for elder. Relates closely to the wine and the whole tone of qualifications. There is a lack of self control.

    Having seen some folks on pain killers, I wonder at the level of a persons thinking, interpretation etc. and their ability to function properly in the ministry - maybe a break would be good. Don't know, as I don't have the answers, just asking questions.