Individuals can develop an addiction to prescription drugs whether they were prescribed by their doctor or not. Even if the drugs are taken according to doctor’s orders, chronic pain can promote long-term usage. The incidence of abuse and addiction to prescription drugs is steadily increasing, mainly because this type of drug is easy and legal to obtain.
Certain prescription drugs are responsible for more deaths from overdose than all illegal street drugs combined.
The drugs most commonly abused are:
- Painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin
- Anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax, Valium, and Ambien
- Stimulants such as Ritalin
If you think you or a loved one has a problem, early intervention may prevent the problem from becoming much worse.
Prescription Medication and Addiction
Prescription medication and addiction is a topic that is not talked about often enough. When most people hear the term “addiction”, they do not think about prescription medication. Most likely, they think about someone who is addicted to an illicit drug or alcohol. However, studies have shown that nearly 10 percent of people abuse prescription drugs. Furthermore, a report done in 2010 showed that the number of people abusing prescription medication has increased by 400 percent within the last decade.
Even though one needs a written consent from a health care provider to get a prescription drug, it is easy for some people to obtain medication without a prescription. Many people think that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs. Others use prescription medication to get high or experiment.
Young people who are in their teens or early 20s are the age group that is at the greatest risk for abusing prescription drug. Additionally, people who have had a history of drug or alcohol abuse are more likely to abuse prescription medication.
Painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants are the classes of medication that are most often abused. Excessive mood swings, poor decision making, and confusion are some of the most common signs of a prescription drug addiction. People who are addicted to drugs may also go to more than one doctor to obtain their prescription.
Prescription drug addiction can cause a number of health problems if it is not treated.
The good news is that many patients have been able to overcome their addiction with the help of our clinic. We give our patients the one on one attention and support that they need to break their habit. Prescription medication and addiction is a problem that is not going anywhere, but we are doing our part to address it.
How to Know?
There are a few questions you can ask yourself about your drug use, and these questions will also give you a way to detect if someone else has a problem:
- Are you taking more medication than your doctor prescribed?
- Does it take larger amounts of the medication to feel the effects?
- Has someone told you that you may have a prescription drug problem?
- Do you need to go to several doctors to get enough medication?
- Do you tell lies to get more medication?
- Have you made an attempt to stop the medication without success?
- Do you continue to take large amounts of medication even though you feel side effects such as nausea, fatigue and dizziness?
Other signs that an individual is addicted to a prescription drug are:
- Hostility and excessive mood swings
- An increase or decrease in sleep
- Extremes of energy or sleepiness
- Lack of good judgment
- Often “losing” prescriptions so more must be purchased
What to Expect in Treatment
The first step to becoming free of addiction to prescription drugs is detoxification. This is the process of removing the drug from your system. Your body may have changed because long-term drug abuse affects almost all the systems in the body. When the supply of the drug is abruptly stopped, there will be withdrawal symptoms. For opioids, the withdrawal symptoms are common:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Large pupils
- Body aches
- Abdominal pain
- Agitation and bad moods
- Craving for the drug
Along with these symptoms, there will also be emotional stress and intense agony that most people will do anything to avoid. The physical symptoms will last from one day to several weeks according to how long you took the drug. When the intense symptoms subside, there may be some mental and physical discomfort for a few more weeks.
The best way to get free of the drugs and gain control of your life again is to find a qualified, inpatient drug rehab program. Most of these programs have three elements that start with detox and include counseling and aftercare.
Counseling given by trained professionals can help you express your feelings and find the root cause for becoming addicted to the drugs in the first place. You’ll also learn about the things that trigger or prompt you to turn to drugs as a solution to a bad feeling or situation. You may participate in group discussions where you’re able to learn about the problems other people have, and how they overcome them. This may be the most important part of your treatment because you’ll discover the reasons behind your addiction and find ways to deal with them to progress to recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
During treatment, counselors may use cognitive behavioral therapy to help you identify negative and irrational thought patterns which influence your behavior. These patterns can be part of the reason you turned to drugs, and when the patterns are broken, they’ll be replaced with new behaviors that keep you healthy. Some of the aspects of the treatment are:
- A support network that is concerned about you and wants to see you succeed. You’ll never feel that nobody cares about your recovery.
- Overcoming a feeling of helplessness in your everyday activities. You’ll learn how not to be overwhelmed by different situations.
- Enhancing your self-esteem. An improved self-image will help you avoid destructive behavior.
- Resisting peer pressure that may have contributed to becoming addicted.
- Gradual steps to break the cycle of addiction.
Why Inpatient Treatment?
Inpatient treatment allows you to live in a safe, comfortable, supervised setting for up to 30 days or more. You can focus completely on recovering and not be distracted by unnecessary issues. With your days completely structured, you won’t have time to think about drugs. Since studies show that most relapses happen in the early stages of recovery, this won’t be a problem for you because there will be help 24/7. Sometimes, during detoxification, patients become withdrawn, but during inpatient treatment, there will always be someone nearby to give emotional support if this happens. There is no chance any drugs can reach you since all visitors are closely monitored.
If you, your friend or family member are taking too many prescription drugs, you can get help and become free and in control of your life again through inpatient treatment.
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