Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Recovery Center

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Prescription drug abuse occurs when an individual misuses a prescription medication that is not how medical professionals intended it. Prescription drug addiction results in physical, emotional, and mental issues. Prescription drug abuse may become compulsive and reoccurring, resulting in negative consequences.

Prescription drug abuse does not discriminate. It affects all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. However, it is more common in younger demographics. Prescription drugs that are commonly abused include opioid painkillers, sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, and stimulants. Early identification of substance abuse involving prescription medication is crucial to preventing progression to addiction and the potential use of more dangerous drugs.

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Signs & Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

The differences in signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse depend on the specific drug. Commonly used prescription drugs that are abused are as follows:

Opiates and Opioids: Oxycodone (i.e., Oxycontin and Roxicodone), Hydrocodone (i.e., Vicodin, Norco). These drugs are used to treat pain symptoms and have detrimental effects when abused. The symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Euphoria
  • Slowed breathing
  • Confusion or distorted thinking
  • Poor motor skills and impiaired coordination

Stimulants: These include methylphenidates (i.e., Ritalin, Concerta), Dextroamphetamine, amphetamines (i.e., Adderall). These medications are commonly used to treat sleep disorders and attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adverse side effects of stimulants include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • High blood pressure/heart rate
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations

Benzos (Benzodiazepines), Anti-Anxiety Medications, and Sedatives: These include alprazolam (i.e., Xanax), diazepam (i.e., Valium). Also include hypnotics, such as zolpidem (i.e., Ambien). These medications are intended to alleviate anxiety and help individuals cope with sleep disorders. The symptoms of abuse include:

  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor coordination
  • Slowed breathing

Why Do People Abuse Prescription Drugs?

Prescription users abuse their medication for several reasons. These include:

  • Feelings of pleasure or euphoria
  • Tension relief or relief from mental health issues
  • Increased alertness
  • Issues related to co-existing disorders (like mood disorders, eating disorders, etc.)
  • Preventing withdrawal side effects
  • Acceptance from peers (more common amoung the younger demographic)
  • Ease of access 

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Risk Factors For Prescription Drug Abuse

Several people use prescription medications that fear they will become addicted. However, individuals that take their prescriptions as prescribed often do not become addicted.

However, there are several risk factors for prescription drug abuse. These include:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Past or present addiction to other substances
  • Younger demographics (adolescents and young adults)
  • Pre-existing mental health conditions
  • Access to drugs of abuse not prescribed to the individual
  • Lack of educational resources regarding the harm of prescription drug abuse
  • Peer pressure and social environments that involve drug abuse

Prescription Abuse Complications and Consequences

Today in America and throughout the world, prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high. The severity of substance abuse should not be underestimated and can be fatal. One instance of taking medication over the prescribed amount by a medical professional could lead to unintentional unforeseen events. These instances affect the individual at hand and the addicts’ friends, family, loved ones, and medical staff throughout their journey.

Abusing prescriptions can have a fatal and detrimental impact. Prescription drug users are at risk for overdose when taken in high doses and mixed with other medications. In recent studies, prescription drug abuse has been a pressing issue among older adults due to ongoing health issues. Combining prescription medication can put senior users at risk for misuse and drug tolerance. These instances can lead to addiction.

Prescription drug abuse can cause several problems. Prescription drugs can be hazardous — and even lead to death — when taken in high doses, when combined with other prescription drugs or certain over-the-counter medications, or when taken with alcohol or illegal drugs.

There are medical and physical issues that arise when individuals abuse their medication. Various medications can affect an individual in unique and lethal ways. These include:

  • Sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, benzodiazepines: memory loss, low blood pressured, slowed respiratory rates, and overdose. Disruption of abuse can cause withdrawal symptoms that have harmful effects on the body (i.e., hyperactivity and seizures).
  • Opiates and opioids: low blood pressure, slowed respiratory rates, respiratory failure, or coma. In many instances, Opioids have been the leading cause of overdose.
  • Stimulants: high body temperature, aggressive heart and blood pressure issues, tremors and seizures, hallucinations, behavioral changes, and paranoia.

Prescription drugs activate the brain’s reward pathways. Thus, causing tolerance and dependence on these substances.

  • Physical Dependence: Physical dependency is the body’s response to drug abuse by developing tolerance and habit. Once the body and mind recognize the habit being broke by lack of substance intake, physical and mental withdrawal symptoms begin. Individuals who abuse medications will likely need higher doses to receive the same effects. Therefore, it is likely that an individual who abruptly stops drug abuse will experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Addiction: Addiction to prescribed medications can form physical dependence, which causes them to seek the drug despite the negative consequences compulsively.

Due to prescription disrupting the brains’ reward pathways, individuals who abuse prescriptions can experience changes in behavior and environment. These include:

  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Poor judgement
  • Criminal activity
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Declining work or academic performance
  • Strained relationships with family and friends
  • Experimenting with other illicit drugs

Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

A doctor might prescribe prescriptions to an individual to treat a condition. There are several ways to protect yourself and prevent dependency.

  • Seek medical counseling from a medical professional. Talk with your doctor regarding use on a healthy basis and maintaining the correct dose.
  • Educate yourself on the side effects of your medication. This will help you manage any issues and distinguish if this medication is the right fit for you. Make sure your doctor knows your conditions and the signs. This includes telling your doctor about additional medications you are using, herbal supplements, and alcohol and drug use.
  • Follow directions carefully and use your medication only as prescribed. Do not interfere with your dose if you have built a tolerance unless instructed by a medical professional.
  • Using only the prescription that is prescribed to you. Never use a medicine that is prescribed to someone else. Everyone has unique characteristics, which means the medication might not be the same for you as it is for them.
  •  Keep your prescriptions safe and confined. Manage the quantities you take and put them somewhere you only have access to. This also pertains to properly disposing of your medication, making sure you’re reading the proper instructions on how to dispose of it, or asking your doctor for help.
prescription drug abuse prevention starts with discarding unused prescription medications

Your Insurance May Cover Addiction Treatment

Did you know that most health insurance plans provide coverage for substance use disorder treatment? Submit your policy information below for a free, confidential review of your benefits. All In Solutions accepts most health insurance plans. 

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Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment

The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that overdose death from prescription abuse in the US has skyrocketed. There are millions of people who are affected by this disease. If you or someone else, like a family member, is suffering from prescription drug abuse, seek addiction treatment.

Often, the first step in treating an addiction to prescription drugs is to overcome the physical dependence. As previously discussed, many prescription medications can cause the user to build up a tolerance and experience withdrawal when the drug is not administered. A medically supervised detoxification can help to reduce the discomfort associated with withdrawal and increase a person’s chances of staying sober long-term. Once an individual has cleared their body of drugs, they can begin the healing process of drug rehabilitation.

Prescription Drug Rehab Levels of Care

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient therapy, often known as residential treatment, requires patients residing in a facility for extended periods of time in order to get treatment. After detoxification and stabilization in a residential environment, partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are usually the next step. PHP is where actual healing for mental health issues that might interfere with drug rehabilitation takes place.

This level of care is for those who are just getting back on their feet. Perhaps they don’t know how to deal with life in the absence of drugs, suffer from mental health disorders that make them more prone to drug usage, or are recuperating from an overdose. Inpatient treatment is the most intensive type of therapy.

Outpatient Rehab

Most patients will continue their therapy in an intense outpatient program after finishing a residential treatment program (IOP). As patients return to regular life, IOP continues to give them with a high level of supervision and assistance. Patients can continue to attend therapy and meetings on a regular basis while still living at home.

A person with an IOP does not have to start treatment in a residential institution. Residential treatment may be good for someone who still need substantial assistance or does not have a strong support network at home, as it is not realistic for everyone due to career or family responsibilities.

Outpatient Addiction Counseling

Even if a person is making improvement, they will need to visit with a counselor or therapist on a regular basis to keep them responsible and provide support. Hopefully, their therapist has been there for them throughout treatment and will continue to be a rock for them as they go through each recovery challenge.

In more than 9 million people in the United States, addiction is accompanied by other mental health or substance use concerns, or many mental health conditions overlap. This is referred to as a co-occurring disorder. Drug addiction and mental health problems are statistically linked, whether a person develops mental health difficulties as a consequence of substance usage or as a result of mental health problems.

A person battling with addiction might benefit from regular visits to a counselor or therapist to help them manage their mental health.

Specialized Addiction Programs

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Because of the tremendous effects this class of medications has on a person’s body and brain, prescription opioid addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Furthermore, because fentanyl and carfentanyl (up to 100 times more deadly than fentanyl) have been introduced into the illegal drug supply, an opiate relapse can result in overdose and death if a user stumbles across phony pressed prescription pills. Medication-assisted therapy programs have grown in popularity as a result of these characteristics.

Medication assisted treatment programs use medications like Suboxone, Methadone, or Vivitrol to help minimize post-accute withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings in recovering addicts. They have been shown to be effective in reducing relapse rates as well as decreasing overdose rates in those who do relapse.

Faith-Based Recovery Program

Recovering addicts and alcoholics have acknowledged the value of trust in a higher power in improving their life since the early 1930s, long before the program now known as Alcoholics Anonymous was created. Christian drug rehabs and faith-based recovery programs have expanded on this concept by including Biblical teachings and spiritual ideas into the 12-step-guided reconstruction approach.

Christian and 12 step aspects are mixed with evidence-based treatment approaches in many faith-based addiction programs, like the one offered at All In Solutions, to achieve biological, psychological, social, and spiritual transformation.

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