Prescription drugs are some of the most dangerous drugs on the planet. This is because they're usually perceived as being safe. Far too many doctors prescribe them without giving much thought to the consequences of doing so. Patients take them because the doctor recommends them. The problem is that there usually isn't enough education regarding their addictive nature.
Many people become addicted to prescription drugs purely by accident. They may do any combination of the following:
All of these amount to prescription drug abuse, which can quickly lead to an addiction.
Perhaps you've been struggling with a prescription medication addiction yourself. You may be finding yourself at a crossroads. You know that continuing along this path is dangerous, but you don't know how to live without your medication. The good news is that there is a way out for you.
Prescription drug treatment programs offer you hope for your recovery. While these medications are dangerous, help is available for you to stop them safely. You may not have known that you could go to a prescription drug rehab center to get treated for this addiction. Many people don't. However, once you do, you'll gain access to all the tools and information you need.
Let's take a moment and discuss prescription drug addiction. We'll talk about how widespread it is in the United States. We'll also cover how to know if you've become addicted to your prescription medication, and what prescription drug treatment is like.
Prescription drugs have become a real problem in the United States, and opioids are leading the epidemic. Statistics tell us that this is a problem that has seriously gotten out of hand.
According to the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence:
Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse tells us that:
These statistics are chilling, to say the least. Most people don't realize how hazardous and deadly prescription drugs can be. Regardless of your reasons for abusing prescription drugs, it's important to know these facts. The more you know, the more you can see a need for prescription drug treatment. Undoubtedly, you don't want to become one of these statistics.
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There are so many different types of prescription drugs that can lead to addiction. Most people don't realize the dangers that are lurking within their medicine cabinets. It is so important for you to go over this list to see if any of these are drugs you currently use.
Opioid drugs are most commonly prescribed to help relieve pain. Some people have chronic pain, and they end up taking opiate drugs for a very long time. Opioid addiction occurs when you abuse your opiate medication. This might be something as simple as taking a drug for too long. Opioids cause increases in dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. Eventually, the brain is unable to create these chemicals on its own. This is why addiction occurs.
Some examples of addictive opiate drugs include:
Prescription drug rehab programs are essential for those addicted to opiates.
Prescription stimulants are generally used to help with the symptoms of ADD or ADHD. Prescription stimulant abuse is particularly common among college students. They will frequently share pills with each other, even if the individual doesn't have a prescription. They'll use them to help themselves stay awake and study later.
Some examples of addictive stimulant drugs include:
Going to a prescription drug rehab center is so important for stimulant addicts.
One of the biggest complaints people have is not getting enough sleep. It should come as no surprise that prescription sleeping pills are very common. Unfortunately, these drugs are supposed to be taken only temporarily. They shouldn't be used long-term. When they are, accidental addictions are very common.
Some examples of addictive prescription sleeping medications include:
For people addicted to sleeping medications, prescription drug treatment centers can help.
There are many drugs that are classified as depressants. These medications are often given to treat anxiety. People don't realize how addictive they are. Many of them don't come with warning labels stating that they can lead to addiction.
Some common addictive depressants include:
A prescription drug treatment program can greatly assist someone who is addicted to depressants.
People often confuse the terms prescription drug abuse and prescription drug addiction. They are related, but they actually mean different things. It's important to understand what these terms mean in order to understand your relationship with prescription medications.
When someone is abusing prescription drugs, they are taking the drugs in a contraindicated way. They may not mean to be abusing them at all. Most of the time, they are only looking to relieve their symptoms. That might mean relieving pain, or trying to get to sleep. Prescription drug abusers don't feel as though they have to use the drug at all. They also don't experience withdrawal if they stop using their medication.
Are you a prescription drug abuser? Look for these signs:
It's probably not necessary for prescription medication abusers to go to prescription drug rehab. However, there is generally some reason why they feel the need to abuse their medications. It might be helpful for them to at least talk with a counselor about their prescription drug abuse habits. This can keep them from turning into addictions.
Prescription medication addiction occurs when someone has been abusing the drugs for quite some time. It happens at a different rate for everyone. Some people can become addicted to their medications within a week or so. For others, it can take several months.
When addiction to prescription medications starts, it always begins with abuse. Addiction does take time. If you're addicted to prescription drugs, withdrawal symptoms and a need to use are clear signs. If these and other signs are present, consider going to a prescription drug rehab program.
You may not really know if you're a prescription drug addict or not. This happens to so many people who use these medications. If you are, it's important to recognize that so that you can get the help you need to recover.
There are certain symptoms of prescription drug addiction that you can look for. Have you noticed any of the following?
Any one of these could be an indication that you have formed an addiction. If you're still not sure if you're a prescription drug addict, you may want to take a quiz. This quiz will ask you some in depth questions about your prescription drug use. It's important to answer all of them honestly. While the quiz doesn't take the place of an evaluation, it can certainly be very helpful.
It's important to know more about your relationship with your prescription drugs. This will help you understand if you need a prescription drug treatment center to recover.
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People generally think about rehab as being a place for alcoholics or illegal drug addicts. They rarely think of it as something that's for people who are addicted to prescription drugs. Actually, prescription drug addiction is incredibly dangerous. If it not stopped, it can lead to serious physical and behavioral problems. It also often leads to additional addictions. So many people turn to heroin when they're not able to continue using their prescription medications.
There are so many benefits that go along with prescription drug rehab centers. These benefits include:
Most people who go to prescription drug rehab programs feel that it was a remarkably rewarding experience. They learn so much about themselves, their addictions, and why they don't need to continue using.
Co-occurring disorders are conditions that take place alongside addictions. These disorders are generally mental health issues that need to be treated. Usually, they contribute to the addiction. However, there are cases when prescription drug addiction actually causes the co-occurring disorder.
Regardless of why a co-occurring disorder is in place, treating it should be the highest priority. It's not enough to just treat withdrawal symptoms, and the symptoms of addiction. Unless the underlying condition is found, the prescription medication addiction will continue. The patient is at a very big risk for a relapse.
There are actually many different types of co-occurring disorders that people often suffer from. These include:
The symptoms of these disorders can become unbearable. Some patients obtain treatment for them on their own. For others, they remain undiagnosed. It's not uncommon for someone to come to prescription drug rehab center with an anxiety disorder without knowing it. Instead of seeking a doctor for help, individuals will turn to prescription drugs as a way to self-medicate. Of course, this is very dangerous.
It's also not very effective. When people self-medicate a co-occurring disorder, they frequently find that their symptoms eventually become worse. This can lead to using more drugs, or different types of drugs.
At one time, treatment for co-occurring disorders (or dual diagnosis treatment) was not at all common. Instead, patients would go to a detox facility. Once they detoxed from drugs, they were sent to be treated for the mental illness. This method proved to be ineffective for years. Relapse numbers started to climb, and patients were the ones who suffered.
Today, treating co-occurring disorders is so much different. There are many patients who have benefited from this change because of improved recovery rates.
Cross-addictions are those that occur when you replace one addiction with another one. Someone may have a prescription drug addiction, and then start using heroin, or another drug. Or, it's also possible for someone to turn to a behavioral addiction instead of using prescription drugs. It's amazing how many different scenarios can develop.
What's most important is for professionals to not ignore the cross-addiction. These conditions are very serious, and they need to be treated as well.
Some examples of common cross-addictions include:
Many of these seem relatively harmless on the outside. However, for someone with an addictive history, they are anything but harmless. Someone with one addiction is very vulnerable to developing another. In the event that this does occur, that secondary addiction can cause just as much harm.
The only way to treat a cross-addiction is by going to professional treatment. There, they will assess you for everything you need during your stay. If you do have any cross-addictions, those will be treated simultaneously during your prescription drug treatment program.
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There are many different options available to you for prescription drug rehab programs. This is something you might not have been aware of previously. People often think about rehab as something that's pretty basic. However, researchers have found so many differences in what people actually need. They understand that rehab is not a one-size-fits-all type of situation.
Once you make the decision to go to a prescription drug rehab center, there is a process to follow. You'll take these steps:
Everyone is different, as far as the type of prescription drug rehab center that will be right for them. There are so many options because people have different needs. When you talk with the admissions staff member, you'll be recommended for one or more of the following:
When someone uses excessive amounts of prescription drugs, it creates toxicity in the body. These toxins are what lead to withdrawal symptoms, which can be very difficult. Prescription drug detox is the first step in the recovery process for many with this addiction.
The goal of prescription drug detox is to remove the toxins from the body in a safe way. There are different ways to go about this. The patient will be assessed for the method that's right for them.
Most people find that prescription drug detoxification is a process they're glad they went through. It can make recovery much easier. It also boosts their chances for a long-term recovery.
Most patients find that inpatient treatment is the right option for them. There are a number of reasons for this. Inpatient treatment allows them to have the support and supervision they need. Because they're removed from their medications, there is no temptation to use at all.
Inpatient treatment programs involve staying in treatment for about 30 days. The program itself will include many different types of counseling. There will be events and activities for patients to participate in. They'll get the opportunity to know other patients very well, and even form new friendships.
Many patients find that they need the higher level of care that inpatient treatment offers them. It allows them the chance to focus solely on their recoveries without a lot of outside distractions.
There are some patients for whom outpatient rehab is an appropriate choice, even if it's their first time. Outpatient prescription drug rehab centers are usually for people who have been through detox, and been through inpatient care. However, there are always exceptions. For someone whose addiction is new, or mild, outpatient treatment might be what they need.
During the outpatient prescription drug treatment program, patients visit a therapist on a schedule. In the beginning, their appointments may be every week. As time goes on, they may eventually become monthly. The length of time that's needed for outpatient care differs. It all depends on how the patient is progressing. Counselors may recommend for patients to go through a detox program before starting treatment.
Usually, group therapy is recommended for patients in outpatient treatment as well. Narcotics Anonymous offers free support groups for drug addicts. Some outpatient clinics even offer their own support groups.
An intensive outpatient treatment program might work well for a prescription drug addict. This type of prescription medication treatment is for people who need a higher level of care. However, they may not be able to go to an inpatient clinic. Many people work, and are unable to take time off. Or, they may have other responsibilities they have to take care of. For the longest time, these individuals thought there was no way for them to recover. Fortunately, IOP makes it possible.
During an IOP program, patients come to appointments during the week. They may come 3 to 5 times, depending on their needs. Appointments usually last several hours at a time. One benefit of this is that many programs have flexible appointment times. They will often hold their programs during the evening hours. This gives people who work the opportunity to get the care they need.
Intensive outpatient programs usually last about 12 weeks. Once a patient is finished, he or she will move into a traditional outpatient setting.
Occasionally, there are those who are not able to manage a 30 day inpatient prescription drug rehab program. Sometimes their addictions are so severe that they need additional time. Other times, they may have difficult home lives that make recovering very difficult for them. In situations like these, long-term rehab is recommended.
Long-term rehab can last for as long as six months, or even longer, depending on the facility. The goal is to work with the patient on learning life without prescription drugs. This does take some time; especially if the patient has been an addict for a long time. Prescription drug treatment is often done right there at the center. There are some long-term rehabs that require patients to obtain their own, outside prescription drug rehab. These are more like sober living environments.
For many people, long-term rehab is a solution that they desperately need. Without it, they are much more likely to go back to using again.
Which type of prescription drug rehab center is the right one for you? That's a difficult question to answer. It's best to talk with a professional and get a recommendation, based on your circumstances and needs.
Prescription drug detox is something you may want to consider if you have an addiction. These drugs are potent, and incredibly powerful. People often underestimate the damage that is done to their bodies and minds after abusing them.
Prescription drug detoxification works by helping your body eliminate the toxins that are there from the drugs. It also helps to decrease your withdrawal symptoms. This can make your recovery much easier on you, and it can make it faster as well.
Prescription drug withdrawal symptoms can become very serious. They make it extremely hard to stop using when people attempt to do it on their own. Every type of drug has it's own withdrawal symptoms. It's important to know what they are so you know what to expect.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms can become very severe at times. Stopping the use of opiates is quite dangerous, and should only be done under medical supervision. Patients are likely to experience:
Opiate withdrawal symptoms generally begin relatively quickly. For short-acting opiates, they can start within 12 hours. For long-acting opiates, they can begin within 30 hours of the last dose. Symptoms tend to increase in severity over the next 72 hours. At that point, they will begin to lessen. However, they may return at any time. Some people experience them for weeks, without proper treatment and detox.
Like with other drugs, stimulant withdrawal symptoms generally start off mild. Many people have actually experienced withdrawal before. They tend to think that what they experienced is as hard as it will get. These symptoms will come to a peak. At that point, people are likely to relapse without proper treatment.
Some common stimulant withdrawal symptoms include:
Stimulant withdrawal symptoms can last for a few weeks without treatment. However, rebound symptoms are always a possibility when stopping these drugs. When the earliest symptoms begin, they will peak within the first few days. After that, they'll start to diminish.
Sleeping pills are among some of the most potent prescription medications. Sleeping medication withdrawal symptoms can become severe. Quite often, they're bad enough to drive people back to using again.
Some common sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms include:
These withdrawal symptoms will usually peak within the first week after the pills have been stopped. After that, the person usually experiences some relief. However, it is possible for withdrawal to return at any time. There have even been cases when people experienced it months after stopping them.
There are some types of depressants that are not thought of as being physically addictive. However, they can be psychologically addictive, and they can produce physical withdrawal symptoms.
Some common depressant withdrawal symptoms include:
These withdrawal symptoms will come to a peak within the first five days. Once the medication has been stopped, symptoms may begin within the first 12 hours. They may persist for another week or two after the peak has been reached. Like with other prescription drugs, rebound withdrawal symptoms are very common.
It is very difficult for someone to stop using prescription drugs on their own. This is partially because of the withdrawal symptoms they are likely to experience. Detoxification offers them the best chance of recovering from their addictions. It prepares them for the treatment they'll receive at the prescription drug rehab center.
There are different forms of detox that are generally used for prescription drug addicts. These include:
Sometimes patients are not able to just stop using their medications. For them, doing so would be very dangerous. It can be helpful to taper down the dosage of some medications on a gradual scale. This allows for their bodies to adjust to having less medication slowly. This has been shown to be very effective for some people.
While many patients go through a tapering schedule during detox, additional medications may be added too. There are some prescription drugs that produce withdrawal symptoms even during a taper. When they do, these symptoms can be uncomfortable. Medical detox allows for medications to be given to offset these symptoms. For example, for high blood pressure, medication can be given to counteract that. The same is true for anxiety, depression and seizures.
Holistic detox is a relatively new idea in the realm of drug detox. It is supported by the theory that the body is very good at detoxing on its own. However, it does have to be brought to a better state of overall health. This is accomplished through nutritional changes and physical fitness. By giving the patient the right combination of vitamins and minerals, detox can be brought about naturally. Patients are still monitored very closely during the holistic detoxification process. They are assessed regularly for any signs of medical complications that need immediate attention.
All of the above forms of prescription drug detox are good. The right type will be recommended for you, based on your needs. However, it's important to note that medical detox does carry some risks with it. It's possible to form a secondary addiction to some of the medications that are given. For this reason, more detox centers are moving toward the holistic detox model.
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During your prescription drug rehab program, you're likely to encounter many different types of treatment. The methods that are utilized for you will be different than what someone else experiences. This is true even if you both suffer from the same addiction. The fact is that prescription drug addicts all have different needs. It's so important to assess what those needs are so that individual treatment can be prescribed.
During your prescription drug treatment program, you'll experience many different types of therapy. The methods might include some or all of the following:
Group therapy has been celebrated for years as one of the most effective types of therapy. It is used in many different therapeutic settings.
During group therapy sessions, you'll work with several other patients at one time. You may cover a range of different topics during your sessions. You may be involved in a 12 Step program, and this could be one of your group therapy experiences.
You may feel a bit nervous about going to group therapy. Many people do. They don't like the idea of sharing personal information and stories with a group of strangers. However, it's OK if you don't want to share right away. You'll be invited to listen and share when you feel comfortable enough to do so. You'll find that it helps to hear that others are going through the same situations you are. You'll feel empowered and supported during group therapy. You'll also help others in their own healing journeys.
Individual therapy sessions are a very important part of the healing process during rehab. They will be vital for you during your time in prescription drug treatment.
During these sessions, you'll work very closely with your therapist. He or she will ask you questions about the background of your addiction. You'll talk about what some of the things are that you think may have led to it as well.
You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself during these sessions. Sometimes, therapists find that some type of trauma contributed to the addiction. This could be something that you have no memory of that happened to you as a child. If this is the case, you'll also be treated for PTSD.
Getting to the root cause of your addiction is your therapist's job. He or she will work hard to ensure that you heal properly. It is because of individual therapy that most patients experience successful recoveries.
For most prescription drug addicts, their relationships with their family members suffer greatly. Once the addiction takes hold, it becomes the most important thing in their lives. This is where family therapy becomes so important.
Your family is your biggest support system. Chances are pretty good that they've been encouraging treatment long before you agreed. In the process, your relationships with many of them may have been ruined. You may have had some people cut you out of their lives. This is all normal in the life of an addict.
Family therapy will help you repair those tarnished relationships. You'll both meet with a therapist to begin to make your relationship better. This may take some time, of course, but it is time well spent.
Physical exercise and meditation are often a big part of rehab for prescription drug addicts. If you think about it, you may experience racing thoughts quite often. Maybe you never give your mind a chance to slow down and just relax. Yoga can be a big part of helping you learn how to do that.
Yoga has shown great promise in helping to treat addictions. It can help relieve chronic pain, which is why most prescription drug addicts started using. It can also improve your overall health. Yoga has been shown to be very effective at removing toxins from the body as well. This only serves to help the recovery process along.
As far as psychological health goes, Yoga is highly recommended. Individuals who participate with it during rehab experience less cravings. They also have a much lower rate of relapse compared to those who don't do Yoga.
The arts are something that everyone loves. Most people love creating things, and music is a major part of our lives. Art therapy and music therapy are both important parts of the healing experience during rehab.
These therapies have been found to be very effective during the 12 Step model of recovery. They tap into the creative power of the brain. This is especially effective when a patient first starts prescription drug treatment.
The other component of art therapy and music therapy is enjoyment. Most patients look forward to the time they spend doing these activities. They offer their minds a break, and give them something different to focus on that they truly love.
There are so many different ways to treat addiction. Staff members will work hard to find the methods that will be best for you.
It is important to understand that once you complete your prescription drug treatment program, rehab isn't over. Many people think that they can just go through a prescription drug detox program. Or, they think that if they go to inpatient treatment, they'll be cured of their addictions when it's over. If only this were the case. Unfortunately, it's not.
This is because an addiction is a disease. It may not seem like one because it's somewhat different from other diseases you know of. However, it has been found to be a chronic, relapsing condition, and that qualifies it as a disease. If you think about other types of diseases, it isn't enough for those patients to receive one course of treatment. They usually have to continually go back for more. That's the way it is with addiction, and prescription medication addiction is no different.
This does not mean that you need to remain in inpatient treatment for the rest of your life. What it does mean is that, for most patients, a step-down approach to prescription drug treatment is recommended. You may be released to an intensive outpatient program at first. Once you complete that, you may be released to an outpatient prescription drug rehab program. You may be recommended for a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Your progress and your addiction will dictate what your steps will be.
The most important thing you can do is to never stop getting prescription drug treatment. It is the only way that you will remain in recovery.
Prescription drug relapse is very common. Sometimes patients experience cravings, and they go back to using. Doing so can be dangerous because it can lead to an overdose. However, if you do relapse, there's no need to panic.
You need to tell someone. Talk to your counselor about the relapse. They will recommend the right steps for you to take. You're not alone if you relapse, and you can still get the help you need.
You may be considering rehab for prescription drug abuse because you didn't realize your medication was addictive. It's also possible that you're thinking about getting treatment because you did know it was addictive. You've been abusing your pain pills or other prescription drugs regularly. You liked the way they made you feel, but you thought you could maintain control. What you didn't completely understand is the damage that it would cause to your body. Both scenarios are incredibly common.
Regardless of where you find yourself now, educating yourself is so important. You need to know about the dangers of prescription drug addiction. You also need to know that you're not alone in the struggles you're facing. Help is available for you to recover.
At Northpoint Recovery, we've had the pleasure of helping so many people with prescription drug addictions. We understand how dangerous these drugs can be. We also understand why people hesitate to get professional treatment. Unfortunately, one of the barriers people have to prescription drug rehab is shame. They're ashamed that they didn't realize the dangers of their medication. They thought they were safe, and many of them even follow their doctors' instructions completely. Prescription medication addiction has a way of creeping up on you, without you realizing it's happening.
TOur goal is to address the core issues behind your addiction. By doing so, we're able to facilitate long-term recovery. We can help you learn how to avoid relapsing, and stay on the right track.
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