Last updated: 04/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Prescription drug addiction has become more and more prevalent in the last several decades than ever before for a number of reasons. The high availability of these drugs coupled with the wrongful belief that medications prescribed by doctors couldn’t possibly be dangerous has created a severe addiction problem in our world today when it comes to the use of these drugs. The three main types of medications that are most likely to cause an addiction syndrome include prescription sedatives, painkillers, and stimulants.
If you have been abusing a prescribed substance for more than a few weeks, it is likely that you will require professional rehab in order to stop. This is because, while these drugs are safe when taken in certain dosages and when use of them is monitored closely by the doctors who prescribe them, they can be habit-forming, as well as create severe dependencies and high levels of tolerance. All of these issues can swiftly lead to addiction.
If you or someone you know has been
- Using your medication in higher doses, more often, or by a different method than prescribed by a doctor
- Using your medication to get high, to enhance personal performance, or for a reason other than prescribed by a doctor
- Using someone else’s prescription that was not specifically meant for you
- Buying prescription drugs illegally, either through another person or online
- Stealing prescription pads or forging prescriptions in order to get more drugs
rehab treatment will be necessary, as there is a strong chance that your abuse of this substance has already led to addiction. It is also important to consider the questions below to determine whether or not you require treatment at this time for prescription drug addiction.
- Have you experienced tolerance and/or dependence as a side effect of your prescription medication abuse?
- Have you considered moving on to an illicit or stronger substance similar to the drug you have been abusing because of these effects (i.e., heroin in the case of painkiller abuse, etc.)?
- Do you feel that you need these drugs in order to get out of bed in the morning, fall asleep at night, or get through the day?
- Have more than one of your friends, family members, coworkers, or someone else close to you mentioned their concern over your problematic use of medication?
- Have you done dangerous, controversial, or illegal things to obtain more of the medication?
- Have you experienced severe physical or psychological side effects associated with your abuse?
- Have serious problems arisen as a result of your prescription drug abuse, such as:
- Losing a job?
- Losing an important relationship?
- Getting expelled?
- Getting arrested?
- In spite of all these consequences, do you still feel that you are unable to put a stop to your substance abuse on your own?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, especially the final one, there is a strong likelihood that you are already addicted to a prescription drug and that you will require treatment.
What is Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Like?
Just like any other type of rehab, you will be given your own personal treatment program based on your needs. This program will change over time in order to reflect your progress as you continue through your recovery. You will regularly meet with your doctor as well as nurses, therapists, and other practitioners and medical professionals who want to help you end your dangerous abuse of prescription medications.
In general, the most common types of prescription drug rehab centers include:
- Inpatient care: a program that provides 24-hour access to treatment for patients as well as overnight accommodations for as long as their treatment program lasts
- Outpatient care: a program where patients visit the facility daily or several times a week to receive treatment for addiction
If you have never attended rehab before, inpatient care is more than likely the best choice for your needs. You will often receive more treatment options as well as more hands-on care, and after your treatment has ended, you can transition into a less intensive program like outpatient care. Prescription drug addiction rehab should cater to your needs and allow you to recover in the safest and most beneficial way possible, so let us help you find the best program for you.
Detox Treatment: The First Step Toward Recovery
The first part of treatment for prescription drug addiction is detox. You will need to be weaned off the substance slowly or treated for withdrawal symptoms depending on the particular medication you have been abusing and the severity of your condition.
- Painkillers: You will be given one of three medications to treat your withdrawal symptoms from prescription painkillers or opioids: methadone, buprenorphine, or clonidine. The first two medications can be continued as maintenance methods as well, and depending on how severe your dependence on opioid drugs is, you and your doctor may decide it is best for you to stay on one of the medications for a specific length of time.
- Stimulants: You will be treated for cravings with anticraving agents, antidepressants for depressive symptoms, and neuroleptics if you are experiencing the severe psychotic effects sometimes associated with stimulant abuse.
- Sedatives: Usually, you will be weaned off sedatives slowly while in detox treatment. This is because the withdrawal symptoms associated with these drugs can sometimes become severe and even deadly. Your caregivers will want to ensure that you are safe while going through detox. If necessary, you may be given other drugs depending on your needs during medically assisted withdrawal.
It is also important to remember never to go through detox without the aid of a professional treatment program. Withdrawal from any of these drugs can potentially be dangerous and life threatening. In addition, those who do not attend detox treatment are often less likely to then attend addiction treatment, both of which are extremely important to a safe and beneficial recovery. Therefore, it is always best to go to a clinic for prescription drug detox, no matter how mild your symptoms may be at first.
Treatment Methods for Prescription Drug Addiction
The treatment methods for prescription drug addiction are similar to those associated with other types of substance use disorders. Evidence-based approaches include:
- Doctors use medications to treat the symptoms of withdrawal as well as to reestablish your normal functions after addiction and to curb issues like cravings that might lead to a relapse. Currently, there are only medications approved to treat painkiller or opioid addiction. These include naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine. Other medications are being developed and tested to eventually provide treatment to stimulant and sedative addicts, but you may receive certain medications as of now, depending on your specific needs. These will not treat your addiction specifically but may treat other issues associated with recovery like depression, anxiety, etc.
- The use of behavioral therapies is extremely common among prescription and illicit substance abuse patients, and you will learn a number of new skills from these programs that will help you change your attitude, beliefs, and behaviors toward drug abuse. Some of the most commonly used behavioral therapies for prescription drug abuse include:
- Contingency management (CM)
- 12-step facilitation therapy
In addition to these approaches, holistic methods (including yoga, meditation, massage therapy, dance/art therapy, and pet therapy) may be utilized to treat prescription drug addiction. Many programs also provide help with legal matters, housing, employment, and a number of other issues experienced by recovering addicts like you.
Depending on the rehab center you choose, your options may be different, so consider if there are any specific methods you would like to have as a part of your treatment program, and we will try to find the right facility for your needs.
How Do I Find the Right Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Program?
We will help you find the right rehab center for your prescription drug addiction treatment. It is important to take all your needs into account before you begin searching and to make sure the program of your choice will be able to meet them. Remember, some of these needs may have nothing at all to do with your addiction, such as a need for the staff to speak Spanish or for your program to provide you with kosher meals.
Once we help you find a program you believe will be beneficial for you, call the facility itself and ask any questions you may have, including:
- How long does your rehab program usually last?
- What is your success rate with prescription drug addiction patients?
- How much will the program cost?
- Will your facility take my insurance?
- What treatment options will you offer me?
- Can my family come and visit me in the facility?
- What should I expect from the program?
- What should I bring to the facility? What shouldn’t I bring?
Once you feel comfortable enough with the facility and you feel it will be able to cater to your needs as expected, you can begin your recovery with the help of trained medical professionals and a treatment program that is specifically catered to you.