Prescription Drug Addiction
Overcoming a prescription drug addiction can feel like an impossible mountain to climb. When people try to quit cold turkey on their own, they’ll often experience the initial withdrawal stages which can cause them to return to their old habits.
Between 2006 and 2012, large pharmaceutical manufacturers created 76 billion prescription opioid pills (oxycodone and hydrocodone) that were later prescribed by doctors around the United States. During that time period, tens of thousands of people died from opioid use.
Prescription medications are also being counterfeited, and made with the opiate fentanyl, which makes them much more deadly.
The good news is that there’s a safer, more systematic approach to beating a prescription drug addiction.
In this article we’re going to cover:
-The withdrawal timeline & symptoms
-The prescription drug detox process
-3 things to look for in a prescription drug detox program
-How to know when someone needs help with addiction
-And the next steps you can take
How Does Prescription Drug Addiction Happen?
There are two general ways people can become addicted to their prescribed medications over time.
Doctors prescribe certain drugs for short term solutions, like painkillers following a surgery. Some of these drugs, such as opioids, provide a euphoric effect and even cause physical dependency. So, while they might be useful in helping alleviate pain after surgery, once the person is fully recovered, they’ve become dependent on their prescription just to feel normal.
Another way people become addicted is due to the diminishing returns of their medication. Over time the recommend dosage won’t provide the same effect it used to and so people increase their dosage to get the original result. These individuals aren’t intentionally trying to abuse their prescription, they’re simply trying to attain the same positive effect that smaller dosages of the drug use to produce. After a while of increasing their dosage the person can become dependent on that drug just to achieve their daily tasks.
And through no fault of their own, the person in both of these scenarios has now developed an addiction. In certain cases, a person might switch from prescription drugs to heroin, a less expensive alternative.
Regardless of how someone finds themselves addicted to their prescription medication, all sufferers have one thing in common: they need help overcoming their addiction.
About Withdrawal Symptoms
By the time someone realizes their life is in turmoil due to their addiction issues, there’s a high likelihood their body has already built up a significant dependence on the drug user’s drug of choice. Once the body gets married to the need for a substance, it’s not going to be happy when that substance is suddenly being withheld. The only way it can register its objection to the cessation of getting the substance it craves is to revolt. The body’s way of revolting is via withdrawal symptoms.
The withdrawal symptoms an addiction sufferer will encounter depends on several factors, including:
-The type of drug or drugs the individual is abusing
-The duration of the drug abuse
-The way the individual’s body metabolizes medications
-The dosage the individual takes on a regular basis
-The frequency of the drug abuse
In the worst cases, all of these factors can create a scenario where the individual is subject to some really significant and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Since prescription painkillers are getting the most notoriety in the press these days, we thought it would be useful to point out what kind of withdrawal symptoms someone might encounter when they suddenly stop taking an opioid. Again, if the individual has a significant addiction, their detox process will likely expose them to some equally significant withdrawal symptoms.
Here are a few opioid withdrawal symptoms of note:
-Issues with the respiratory and circulatory systems
-Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
-Severe cramping in the stomach region
-Inability to concentrate
-Loss of body function
-Tremors in the extremities
-Hallucination and nightmares that interrupt sleep processes
-Onset of psychological issues like depression and anxiety
Surely you will agree this is quite a disturbing list of withdrawal symptoms. Someone with an addiction to benzos, amphetamines and or alcohol could expect to experience similar withdrawal symptoms.
The point is this. It would be a big mistake if you were to believe detox is not a serious process. Without trying to scare you, we want you to know that sometimes, the body’s detox process is downright dangerous. With that in mind, we would like to move forward and discuss prescription drug detox programs and how they keep clients safe until the detox process has run its course.
Now for the good news
The good news is that there is a safe way to recover, and avoid relapses moving forward.
A Suboxone detox program backed by medical treatment, in a safe environment, supported by a caring community can help you get your life back on track. And with aftercare programs designed to mend relationships, rebuild finances, and feel whole again, it is possible to build a bright future.
A full recovery is possible, and it’s never too soon to start a Suboxone detox program.
The Prescription Drug Detox Process
At Amatus Recovery Centers across the country, the prescription drugs detox program is designed to keep patients comfortable and cared for throughout the entire process.
Here’s what to expect:
Step 1 — The patient gets a psychological and physical assessment, gets their lab work done, and receives a personalized treatment plan. The patient is then shown to their room which has a comfy Tempurpedic bed, flatscreen television, and there will be plenty of meals and snacks available—everything to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.
Step 2 — The patient is administered medical treatment by our certified professionals to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms. The medication helps to reduce the typical stresses and pains that come with a prescription drug detox, which also helps curb their urge to use again. The patient will have 24/7 access to staff who will regularly monitor and provide medication as needed.
Step 3 — Upon completion of the initial prescription drug detox the patient is then guided through a therapy program to help ensure ongoing recovery. Depending on the patient’s unique needs, they might need one or a combination of therapies. Some examples are recreational therapy, expressive, group, trauma, motivational, family, cognitive behavioral therapy, aftercare, and even case management for issues like bad credit, helping with a criminal record, or finding employment.
The prescription drug detox, combined with the aftercare program, is all about setting the patient up for long-term recovery.
Is It Safe to Attempt a Detox on Your Own?
There is a reason why doctors and addiction treatment professionals try to discourage people from stopping their drug abuse “cold turkey.” Depending on the circumstances surrounding an addiction, withdrawal symptoms can start within hours of the individual taking their last injection, swallowing their last pill or drinking their last shot. This is relevant because the onset of the detox process is when the danger begins.
It’s a far better idea for an addiction sufferer to reach out for help from a detox facility or an addiction treatment facility that maintains an in-house detox program. Like most other addiction facilities, our first interaction with clients usually involves getting them into our prescription drug addiction detox program.
Prescription drug addiction presents a unique problem. If the prescription drug that sits at the core of the individual’s addiction is necessary for the individual’s survival, the intake staffer has to know that right up front. No one should ever underestimate the importance of the intake process. This is the only way a facility’s staffers can get a handle on the client’s exact circumstances. If you are going through the intake process, we implore you to be as honest as you can. The information you provide will ultimately determine your course of treatment.
It would be fair to say that a great majority of the time, people entering rehab with a prescription drug addiction are going to need time in a medically-monitored detox program. The goal of such as program is to keep clients as safe and comfortable as possible while their body detoxes.
If a client is able to go through withdrawal without medical intervention, that’s a very good thing. In our facility, that’s our preferred detox option. However, we don’t encounter many situations when clients can complete their detox treatment by focusing on nothing more than better nutrition, relaxation and getting exercise.
That leaves the medical detox option. Under the watchful eye of medical staffers, clients are monitored as they encounter their withdrawal symptoms. The moment any client exhibits any level of pain or discomfort, there will be a physician standing by to prescribe prescription drug relief medications. Yes, it’s tenuous to offer prescription drugs to a client with a prescription drug addiction. However, it’s only done when no other solutions are apparent.
It’s important for you to know that the number one reason people abort going through treatment is because of the pain they encounter while they go through the detox process. That’s not good for anyone. That’s exactly why the number one goal of any detox program is to keep the client safe and comfortable at all times.
3 Things to Look for in a Prescription Detox Program
Many people struggling with addiction fear the pain and discomfort during the withdrawal period of a prescription drug detox
The anticipation of being judged or looked down upon keeps them from reaching out for help
And the thought of repairing all the damage that has been done—bruised relationships, damaged credit, tarnished public records—can give people a sense of, “This is impossible, so why bother.”
It all comes down to confidence and comfort.
If the person doesn’t feel confident they can actually recover, they’re not likely to try to beat their addiction. And if they do try, if the person is feeling discomfort—either from the aches and pains of the withdrawal, or the perceived shame and guilt from their peers—they’re setting themselves up for failure.
When choosing a prescription drug detox program, here are the three important things to look for:
Withdrawal can be uncomfortable and in some cases dangerous. And while nobody should self-administer a medical detox, they also shouldn’t attempt beating the painful withdrawal stages without medical assistance. A successful prescription drug detox program should be supervised by dedicated professionals at every step, monitoring vital signs, administering medication as needed, and guiding you through the first steps to recovery.
Nobody wants to be surrounded by people who are constantly trying to “fix” them. You want to be around people who are just like you, who understand you and what you’re going through. One of the keys to a successful recovery is being part of a community of people who’ve been in your shoes and come out clean on the other side. These people can show you the exact steps you need to take to get back on track (and stay there).
A personalized, long-term plan
The problem with one-size-fits-all detox programs is that each person is unique. People have different backgrounds, emotional hurdles, and financial situations. They also have different tolerances, triggers, and physical and psychological needs. According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness roughly half of all people struggling with addiction also have unique mental circumstances that can affect the treatment methods and the duration they need for recovery.
When choosing a prescription drug detox program you should look for one that takes the time to assess your personal circumstances. Make sure the program asks about and takes into consideration the substances you’ve been using, the dosage and duration of use, and your full medical history, and uses that information to create a personal plan designed only for you.
With these three things, you can feel confident that your personal prescription drug detox program will get you where you’re going. And you’ll know that you will get there comfortably with the proper medical treatment, and with the support of people who genuinely care about you.
How to avoid relapsing
After successfully detoxing the body from prescription drugs, the next goal is to set the patient up for long-term recovery.
During this time it’s crucial to address any underlying issues like depression or anxiety. And depending on each person’s unique needs, they might require one or even a combination of different therapies.
Amatus Recovery Centers offer a variety of ongoing treatments:
We focus on each person’s unique strengths and skills to build a strong mentality, to show them they can achieve anything they set their mind to.
The Benefit: They’ll gain control of their thought patterns, and develop a self-motivated mindset.
We explore unique ways each person can express their self through creative and artistic outlets like music and art.
The Benefit: They’ll unlock create potential they never knew they had, which will open up a bigger sense of meaning and purpose.
We act as the bridge between family and friends, to help develop an understanding of what the patient is going through.
The Benefit: Refresh past relationships, regain the support of loved ones, and finally feel understood and cared for.
We make sure that all of the patient’s issues get addressed by providing medications for each addiction.
The Benefit: They’ll feel comfortable and pain-free, which opens the door to all sorts of other positive feelings.
We help them address emotional trauma, form a plan to tackle it head-on, and then leave it where it belongs…in the past.
The Benefit: Not only will the person become emboldened, but they’ll feel a large sense of relief as they let go of the emotional baggage.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
We help each person build habits to recognize and handle internal stressors and external triggers.
The Benefit: They’ll be mentally stronger, with a new sense of self-confidence.
We help to repair their credit, address public records, and resolve pending school or job concerns.
The Benefit: The person will feel competent and in charge of their life, with a whole new world of opportunity awaiting them.
We provide each person with techniques, strategies, and a list of resources to help them return to daily life without the fear of a relapse.
The Benefit: They’ll feel powerful, whole, and in control of their life moving forward.