A relative of ours has had more than 35 elective surgeries in the last 20 years. An "ailment" arises, and it is fixed by surgery -- whereupon a new ailment is found, a new surgery occurs, etc. Knee surgeries, wrist surgeries, ankle surgeries, foor surgeries, breast surgeries -- all elective. It has literally gone on like this for decades. It seems to be more or less the same as cosmetic surgery addiction...we believe she's trying to fix something on the inside with all of these surgeries. The problem appears to be that because it's an option presented by doctors, it *has* to happen (she doesn't consider them elective). It is bankrupting her.
Looking for an expert to discuss this with our relative. Extremely grateful for any insight or referrals.
Have you considered the possibility that she has an addiction to opioids? She would have several opportunities to receive opioid painkillers: At initial consultation, she could complain of pain and get meds; when referred to a surgeon, the surgeon could prescribe her more, then during post-op she would receive medication at the hospital or clinic, and she could continue to refill any take-home prescriptions from those doctors until they decided to cut her off, at which time she may decide to seek out a new ailment that needs fixing.
She would hardly be the first person to endure surgery simply to get pain medication.
Some, indeed many, surgeons are cut-happy-- it's what they do, after all, so finding ones willing to perform minor surgeries wouldn't be difficult.
On the other hand it may have nothing to do with pain meds. There could as you suggest be an enormous psychological component at work, maybe something like Münchausen syndrome?
That's a very interesting suggestion, and we had not considered that. Thank you for posting that...it's entirely possible.
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