Prescription drug addiction is frightening, debilitating, and can affect anyone. In a public address on addiction, President Obama cautioned, “addiction doesn’t always start in some dark alley, it often starts in a medicine cabinet.”
Commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- e. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, Percocet, Roxicodone
- Central nervous system (CNS) depressants—treat anxiety and sleep disorders
- e. Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, (also known as benzodiazepines or “benzos”) and Ambien
- Stimulants—treat ADHD and narcolepsy
- e. Adderall, Ritalin
Currently in the U.S., drug overdoses take more lives every year than traffic accidents. Many of these overdoses are caused by opiates and CNS depressants, which are often prescribed by a doctor.
Prescription drug addiction is not a character flaw, nor a moral failing. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences,” and treatment is possible.
A prescription drug treatment center will uncover the underlying causes of addiction and guide each individual through a treatment plan. If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug addiction, the time to find help is now.
Recognizing Prescription Drug Addiction
Because these drugs are typically prescribed by a doctor for a medical use, it is all the more difficult for a person is addicted to ask for help.
Prescription drugs are typically taken daily and for extended periods of time, so people develop a tolerance to these drugs. In order to produce the same effects, the person has to take higher and higher doses of the drug. Eventually, a person develops a dependence upon the drug, meaning they are unable to function normally without the medication because their body suffers withdrawal symptoms.
This dependence is what can easily lead to addiction—even if the person doesn’t want to use the drug—because their body physically needs the substance in order to not get sick.
Why Go to Prescription Drug Treatment?
Quitting cold turkey results in serious withdrawal symptoms, and can even lead to death. Most dangerous is when a person quits for several days and their body’s tolerance changes. If they then take the same dose they were previously using, there is a high risk of overdose and death.
Even if the addict wants to stop using, the discomfort of withdrawal and psychological grip of addiction may lead them to use again. The best option to stop using and stay stopped is to attend a prescription drug treatment center.
An inpatient rehab provides a safe place for medical detoxification and addiction therapy, where an addict can eat, rest, and address the underlying issues of their addiction in a comfortable environment. A stay at a residential treatment facility can last for periods of 30, 60, or even 90 days. During this time, the individual is under 24/7 care and safely separated from the people, places, and things that might trigger their prescription drug abuse.
Though it may seem simple to just stop taking the pills of abuse, breaking the cycle of drug dependence and addiction is too much for a person to take upon themselves. An inpatient or even an outpatient rehab offer the best chances for recovery.
Every facility has different guidelines, philosophies, and accommodations. Before admitting yourself or your loved one, it’s important to do some research. You can browse our rehab directory for treatment options in your area.
What Is the Prescription Drug Treatment Process?
There’s a variety of options for prescription drug treatment, and different levels of care for each individual. The step-down model, in which an addict finishes their inpatient stay and then attends outpatient treatment, has shown the greatest success in helping people staying clean.
The treatment process begins with intake exams. The treatment facility asks a client about their medical and substance abuse history, then conducts a physical exam and blood tests to assess any possible health issues. This information allows the treatment professionals to develop an individualized treatment plan for each person. At this time, a psychiatrist or clinician will determine if any medication needs to be prescribed to the addict, usually to help with sleep problems, anxiety, or depression.
Prescription Drug Detox
After assessing the individual’s physical condition, the treatment facility will begin a medical detoxification program. Though withdrawal from prescription drugs can be very uncomfortable, medical detoxification helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms and ensure the person’s safety. Most importantly, medically supervised detox prevents the most dangerous possibility a person faces when detoxing at home on their own: the powerful urge to relapse.
Many inpatient treatment facilities also offer medical detoxification, which can help an individual get acclimated to their facility’s environment. After detox, clients participate in a range of addiction therapies, in both individual and group sessions. Facilities generally have a treatment philosophy that shapes their methods. Many facilities use the 12-step treatment model, but there are also non-12-step, faith-based, and holistic treatment options. Find the prescription drug treatment that best meets your individual needs. Feel free to call us with any questions:
After completing inpatient treatment, the best option for a person in recovery is to participate in outpatient treatment. The individual will have the freedom to go hope and maintain their daily life, while still reaping the benefits of addiction therapy with scheduled counseling sessions.
While attending outpatient treatment, it is beneficial for a recovering person to live in a sober living home or facility. These facilities are generally like homes or apartments that provide a safe, sober environment during a person’s transition back into life on their own. Sober living facilities often have a curfew, mandatory drug tests, weekly house meetings, and require attendance at recovery meetings. In these homes, recovering people have the opportunity to put into action the coping mechanisms and life skills they’ve learned in treatment, while staying connected with a network of sober supports.
Because most relapses occur within the first year of sobriety, a case management professional can help a person stay on track. A client can contact their case manager over the phone and will meet with them in person. When coping with life’s problems, feeling strong emotions, or dealing with urges to use, a case manager can be an invaluable asset to a person adjusting to living sober.
Where Should You Look for a Prescription Drug Rehab?
Every person’s circumstances are different, and some are more limiting than others. In general, the safest option is to find a prescription drug treatment program that is at least several hours away from home. That way, the individual is further separated from any possible relapse triggers that might steer them off course.
If you’re looking for advice or have questions that need answering, a quick call to the Sober Nation hotline can help you through the process. Call 1 866 317-7050
Prescription drug addiction is not a simple or easy problem to fix, and it is taking lives every day. Many people are resistant to treatment or in denial that they have a problem with prescription drugs, which leads some families to stage a professional intervention. If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug addiction, Sober Nation is here to provide you with the resources and help that may change your life.