Prescription Addiction: An Overview
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS) reveals that over 16 million Americans above the age of 12 misuse prescription drugs annually. 2 million of the people abusing prescription drugs, roughly 12%, have a prescription addiction. It’s alarming to note that 82% of the misused prescriptions include opioids, like fentanyl.
Opioid abuse accounts for over 57% of prescription abuse cases, involving over 9 million Americans who deliberately misuse their prescriptions. Statistics further reveal that prescription drugs rank fifth amongst the most abused stimulants, ranking below alcohol and tobacco-based stimulants. Around 1 in 10 people misuse their prescription drugs in order achieve a state of euphoria.
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What is Prescription Addiction?
Prescription addiction develops when a prescription medication is misused without adherence to the guidelines given by the prescribing physician or medical practitioner. Abusing a prescription drug triggers a series of complications, depending on how the medication is abused. For instance, some people consume more than the prescribed dosage to gain relief from a painkiller or use the painkillers prescribed to someone else.
It’s also common for people to misuse prescription medication by ground-up the pills and snorting or injecting them into the bloodstream. People misuse opioids, benzodiazepines, and other prescription drugs to induce a state of euphoria or calmness, otherwise known as “getting high.” Abusing prescription drugs sets the stage for prescription addiction because these medications are highly addictive, triggering a compulsive pattern with far-reaching health implications.
It’s pertinent to note that prescription addiction is common across all age groups, from adolescents to seniors. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include anxiety medications, opioid pain-relief drugs, sedatives, and brain stimulants. People also abuse central nervous system (CNS) depressants and benzodiazepines to misuse their tranquilizing effects to induce a state of high.
Xanax, medically termed alprazolam, is a popularly misused anti-anxiety drug. In recent years, the misuse and abuse of stimulating amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin have alarmed researchers and medical practitioners. High school and college students abuse Adderall, prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to improve their academic performance.
Amongst opioids, codeine, fentanyl, and oxycodone are the most widely misused prescription drugs. Do you suspect a loved one of misusing or abusing fentanyl? Experts believe that early detection and timely interventions are crucial to prevent misuse from turning into a full-blown prescription addiction. We suggest finding a reputable facility to stage an intervention with a comprehensive fentanyl addiction treatment without delay.
Timely treatment can help the patient from falling into a compulsive pattern of bodily dependency and relapsing.
What Are The Signs of Prescription Addiction?
A prescription addiction manifests itself through a vast host of physical and behavioral symptoms. These physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms reduce the patient’s life quality and intensify the compulsion to continue abusing drugs with acute bodily dependence.
Some common physical manifestations of abusing opioids include:
A state of mental confusion or disorientation
Inability to relieve pain with high doses
Drowsiness and fatigue
Constipation and digestive complaints
Some signs of abusing central nervous system (CNS) medications include:
Slow breathing patterns
Compromised mobility and bodily coordination
Abusing stimulants for an extended period can trigger the following symptoms:
Difficulty falling asleep
Irregular heart rate
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What Are The Effects of Prescription Addiction?
Opioids, anti-anxiety medications, and stimulants slow down breathing patterns and heart rate alarmingly, to the extent that breathing stops altogether, inducing a state of coma or eventual death. Anti-anxiety medications and tranquilizers are commonly linked with memory loss, slowed breathing, and dangerously low blood pressure levels.
Patients who misuse these medications cannot stop abruptly as it can trigger lethal withdrawal symptoms, like seizures, hallucinations, and brain hyperactivity. Stimulants increase body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure levels, heightening the risk for seizures, paranoia, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior.
A prescription addiction alters the patient’s behavior and attitude towards relationships, responsibilities, and life in general. The addiction or compulsion to consume prescription drugs takes center stage in their priorities while everything else is neglected.
Patients diagnosed with or suspected of prescription drug abuse experience alarming mood swings, and quitting or delays in consumption make them irritable. They begin neglecting their domestic and professional responsibilities, be it studying or work.
Common behavioral manifestations of prescription drug abuse include:
Frequent visits to the restroom
Anxiously requesting early refills for their prescription drugs
Visiting multiple physicians or doctors to renew their prescription
Finding illegal means to source prescription drugs without consulting a doctor
Going outside at odd hours of the night
- Changes in regular routines and work schedules
How is Prescription Addiction Treated?
Prescription addictions latch onto the mind and body by creating a physical dependence that sustains the addiction by compelling the patient to continue using. This physical dependence occurs because these prescription drugs, especially opioids and sedatives, activate the reward center within the brain. Quitting abruptly is strongly ill-advised, and patients must undergo a comprehensive prescription addiction treatment.
After long-term misuse of prescription drugs, the body may need a medically-assisted detoxification process to overcome its tolerance and dependence on the drug. The body becomes adjusted to obtaining regular doses of the drug, and failure to provide this dose can trigger debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Addiction specialists manage these withdrawal symptoms with a controlled detoxification process.
Once the detox is completed, patients can explore various therapies to treat the addiction. Most common and effective treatments include the 12-Step Facilitation Program, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and Contingency Management.
Clinicians and addiction specialists typically combine many different forms of therapy treatments so that patients overcome physical dependence and transform their mindsets to adopt healthy lifestyles.
How We Can Help You Break Free From Prescription Addiction
All addictions are treatable, and willpower, unlike most believe, does not play a decisive role in the treatment. Much like treating a chronic illness, overcoming substance use addictions is possible utilizing a comprehensive medication plan, therapeutic techniques, and patience. The road to recovery begins with finding the right treatment facility and rehabilitation program. Cornerstone can be that program for you.
At Cornerstone Healing Center, we believe in sustainable treatments that bolster long-term recovery. To achieve this goal means to find the root cause of the problem and dig it out from the soil.
For recovery to be possible, it is essential to recognize how the addiction is seeping into and ruining different aspects of your life. From work to relationships, how something so powerless is having so much control over you.
Knowing why you choose to recover for yourself, your health, and your loved ones is also essential. Whatever the reason may be, it will also be the reason that will keep you pushing. Hence, ensuring a solid foundation will help make a recovery easier.
we will give you a solid support system
In rehab, there are a lot of group therapies that your therapist will suggest. These groups allow you to build a support system for yourself and become someone else’s support. By sharing traumas, struggles, and recovery journeys, you connect with people who understand your problems better than anyone.
This support system will help you stay on track even after being discharged. It will hold you accountable and constantly remind you how great you are and all you have achieved.
we will SHOW YOU how to live again
we will HELP YOU LEARN TO TAKE THE HARD WAY
Life is not always smooth sailing. It is also essential to learn how to do the hard things. You must learn to not always try to take the easy path. After recovery, the awkward uncomfortable situations in life are the ones that teach us the most.
Recovery isn’t going to be easy at first. The real work starts after you leave treatment because you will begin to face the things you’ve done in the past. The difficult situations where you must rebuild your life after addiction.
We teach our clients how to do these hard things in life, and handle them with grace. Most importantly, how to cope and overcome these difficulties with confidence and kindness.
Therapies We Use to Treat Prescription Addiction
Addictions can cause a lot of psychological and behavioral issues. Strained relationships with family and friends, feelings of guilt that come as an aftereffect of recovery, or even low self-esteem can soon become a reason for relapse.
Cornerstone Healing Center provides addiction treatment that goes deeper than the surface level. From understanding the triggers of addiction to teaching patients how to cope with varying situations, the aim remains to improve the patient’s overall physical, mental, and psychological health.
We also recognize the psychological problems- depression and anxiety- that comes with addiction, so we can cure the patient from anything that is setting them back. Through empowerment, motivation, support, and comfort, we push our patients into becoming improved versions of themselves.
All of this requires a great deal of therapy, some of which include;
Individual therapy allows the patient to talk about issues they believe need attention. They can discuss their family problems, relationship issues, depression, or anxiety. It will give them a confidential, secure, and comfortable space to discuss what bothers them and their recovery.
By doing so, it becomes easier for the doctor to treat the patient on an individual level. They can guide and advise them on matters that are personally affecting the patient.
It can also help the patient recognize and build their identity, become more mindful of their words, feelings, and self, and become better at communicating their stresses or needs.
Group therapy sessions are ideal for reducing the feeling of isolation and abandonment. When patients sit together and discuss their addictions, they soon conclude that they are not alone. That others are dealing with problems similar to theirs, and they can find support in that group.
Moreover, it facilitates the therapist to help multiple individuals simultaneously, speeding up the recovery process. They can be taught coping mechanisms, become aware of how recovery looks in the long term, and even build a structure in their life, all with the help of group therapy.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy are ideal for desensitizing someone to their trauma. The treatment involves the therapist moving their finger in front of the patient’s eyes while asking them to talk about their trauma or the trigger of their addiction.
The distraction of the moving finger allows the patient to focus on something else rather than their reaction to the trauma. This soon reinforces the habit of talking about their trauma without reacting.
This therapy is beneficial in addiction treatment since most addiction problems are caused by previous trauma. Hence, overcoming trauma means overcoming your addiction.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy can help people suffering from substance abuse disorder with several skills that can help in reducing the chances of using drugs. This includes mindfulness, learning how to regulate their emotions, control and tolerate the desire for narcotics when in distress, and interpersonal skills.
The main focus of this therapy is to change the patient’s behavior regarding their coping mechanisms. It encourages them to seek out supportive environments, reduces their triggers, and helps them gain self-confidence.
For patients, these skills and a positive attitude are essential to establish since they can prevent any relapse in their recovery and future.
12-step programs are the most popular method of developing resistance to drugs. Patients can learn how to overcome their cravings and addictions through group support and self-control.
The therapy focuses on going through the 12 steps of recovery. Each step teaches the individual to accept, control, and tame certain aspects of their addiction or self.
By doing so, they seek better connections and hobbies to focus their attention on, providing them with more significant benefits than their addictions.
Prescription addiction treatment process
Cornerstone focuses on providing our clients with a level of care and process that works. We, understanding that each client’s case is unique, build our treatment process that is effective for them.
So, our treatment focuses on understanding the triggers of the addiction and eliminating the cause at the root. This approach reduces the chances of relapse drastically and improves your overall wellbeing.
Our treatment process includes therapies, medical assistance, life skills, and a nutritious diet. We ensure that our patients create healthy habits they can carry with them long-term.
Round-The-Clock Monitoring Or Care
In the initial stages of recovery, resisting drugs or going through the pain alone is challenging. Our residential programs with 24-hour monitoring and care allow us to ease pain and prevent relapse. It also helps us provide the support and guidance to overcome the painful parts of treatment.
Round-the-clock monitoring is also an ideal way of observing symptoms of other diseases beforehand as well. Drug addiction can cause many physical illnesses such as kidney/liver damage or lung damage that might show in subtle manifestations. Catching them in the early stages can result in higher chances of recovery.
Medication To Assist Withdrawal Process If Necessary
Withdrawal can result in severe symptoms that might make it harder to quit the drug. In in-patient programs, patients often have prescribed medicines that can medically detox their bodies.
If necessary, we offer medications to lessen the difficult effects of withdrawal.
At our Scottsdale rehab, we take all precautions to ensure our patient’s safety and recovery.
Nutritional Care And Emphasis
Prescription addictions can cause severe undernourishment in the patient. Their reliance on the drug for a long time may have been experiencing a suppressed appetite or not eating enough. Proper nutrition is critical in recovery since it helps the patients regain their lost strength.
Moreover, if the patient feels hungry, they are likely to replace that hunger with drugs which will cause a relapse. Hence, it is essential to provide nutritious meals that keep them full and help them regain energy to recover strongly.
The goal is always to improve their physical and mental health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Establishing the foundation for long-term recovery takes roughly 30-90 days. The more time, the better because it gives time to eliminate the drug’s effect on your body and mind.
However, the journey and severity of the addiction are different for everyone. Hence, a specific period can only be advised by a certified doctor who knows the details of your case.
Addiction can either stem from or cause mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. These disorders are treated along with addiction in rehab. In fact, co-occurring disorders are quite common in those experience addiction. Any reputable treatment center will monitor and treat both.
Yes! A study conducted within 9 months of patient discharge showed that many individuals who attend rehab maintain their sobriety.
Prescription drugs tend to create tolerance in an individual’s body, leading to the patient taking higher doses. Increased prescription drug usage often leads to heavy dependence, addiction, or overdose. In the future, it can lead to fentanyl and/or heroin use which is proven to cause fatal overdoses.
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Clinically Reviewed By Karen Williams, LPC Certified addiction professionals have reviewed and fact-checked all the information on this page. Clinically Reviewed By Karen Williams, LPC