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Treatment for Prescription
Drug Addiction

Of all the forms of substances that a person can become addicted to, prescription drugs are perhaps the most accessible and dangerous.

Unlike street drugs, which are often illegal and difficult to obtain, prescription drugs can often be a “hidden addiction.” These are legal substances and can be easily obtained thanks to that most trusted of all groups, a caring medical doctor. People may frown if someone buys one drink too many at a bar or is mixing too many drinks at home, but simply taking a pill that a doctor has prescribed is much easier to do without censure.

And this problem is only getting worse. As the American healthcare system continues to change and doctors are often overwhelmed with patients, offering prescriptions has been a fast, effective way to alleviate various symptoms. Because of this, there has been a 400% increase in the amount of medication prescribed to Americans in the last ten years. It’s no wonder that some people become addicted, and when that happens, the best course of action may be to attend a drug treatment center.


Prescription Drug
Florida Statistics

Prescription drug abuse is a serious concern in Florida as addictive opioids continue to be widely prescribed by doctors and physicians. In 2018, there were 4,698 drug overdose deaths reported in the state of Florida – 68 percent of those deaths had involved opioids (The National Instutute on Drug Abuse). That is 3,189 fatalities involving these prescription opioids.

That same year, providers in Florida were writing opioid prescriptions at a rate of 53.7 for every 100 prescriptions. In other words, 53.7 percent of prescriptions written that year had included opioids. This was just above the national average of 51.4 per 100 prescriptions in 2018. However, this was also Florida’s lowest rate since data was first available in 2006.

The most frightening aspect of prescription drug addiction is that it can happen to anyone. Doctors prescribe painkillers, tranquilizers, and anti-anxiety drugs for many reasons. Once those medications are in the home, it’s not just the person originally prescribed the medication at risk. Others in the home are also at risk of becoming dependent on these drugs.

In some cases, addiction is straightforward. A person with severe chronic headaches may be prescribed a painkiller, something like Xanax. Because this substance is in the opioid family, it is very effective at pain relief and works well. However, it can also relieve feelings of stress in some people, reduce anxiety, and even create a sense of well-being and/or euphoria. In addition to reducing physical discomfort, Oxycodone can potentially make people feel emotionally upbeat, and these positive associations may be even more pronounced in people who aren’t actually in pain.


What is Considered Substance
Abuse of Prescription Drugs?

Simply put, substance abuse occurs when an individual has become dependent on the effects of a specific drug and continues excessive use due to an increased tolerance and/or need. However, it is not always that simple – especially when dealing with prescription drugs. While these drugs may be prescribed to help manage symptoms such as chronic pain, repeated use can eventually lead to a person becoming addicted or reliant on this feeling of comfort or euphoria brought on by the drugs. Unfortunately this often results in a dangerous cycle of substance abuse.

The danger with prescription drugs is how easily accessible they can be. Doctors regularly prescribe painkillers, tranquilizers, and anti-anxiety drugs for a number of reasons. Once these are in a person’s home, not only are they susceptible to developing substance abuse issues, but others in their household may be at risk as well. There have been too many instances involving the injury or death of a family member who had happened across another’s prescription drugs. This is why it is so critical to take only what is prescribed and safely dispose of any leftover medication.

Substance abuse of a prescription drug can happen as a result of many things. For example, someone who experiences chronic headaches may be prescribed a painkiller such as Xanax. As an opioid, Xanax is extremely effective at pain relief, but can also be dangerously addictive and life threatening when used improperly. A person may develop an addiction to opioids as they continue to chase the feelings of comfort or euphoria they experience while on the drug. As their tolerance to the drug’s effects increase, they may begin increasing their use of the drug in an attempt to achieve the desired effect or high. Ultimately, a cycle occurs in which a person may continue to self medicate while the drug initially intended to help, gradually becomes detrimental to their health.


Detox and Prescription Drugs

Nobody should have to battle an addiction to prescription drugs alone. Professional treatment and rehabilitation can provide the counseling, therapy, and professional care that is required to overcome substance abuse and achieve a lasting recovery. Each patient receives a personalized treatment program designed for their unique circumstances and concerns. The goal is to help break the cycle of addiction by eliminating a person’s reliance on the drug.

Prescription drug addiction rehab begins with a process known as detoxification, or “detox.” This is an important phase of prescription drug addiction treatment. The human body can readily develop a physical dependence on certain drugs, and detox is the initial step that flushes the system of substances to lay the groundwork for overcoming addiction. Unfortunately, depending on the type of drug addiction being dealt with, there will be a phenomenon known as “withdrawal,” which is simply a body-wide system shock. The patient’s physiology is deprived of the drug in the system. The severity of withdrawal varies wildly with the type of drug and addiction level. For some, withdrawal may be no more severe than having flu-like symptoms and low-grade feelings of discomfort. For others, withdrawal can be excruciating, with cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and even more severe symptoms, some of which may require medical supervision.

While detox can be conducted in the home, this phase is much safer when supervised with professional help, so a hospital setting or experienced rehab center is strongly advised. This is especially true if the addiction is severe and has been going on for a prolonged period of time.


Rehabilitation for
Prescription Drug Abuse

Once detoxification has been completed, several options include attempting to overcome the addiction at home, without professional help, or enrolling in a prescription drug abuse treatment program conducted by professionals. Beachway Therapy Center, for example, has an inpatient,residential program with a direct entry option from the detox period to ensure that the vulnerable period after detoxification isn’t lost to sliding back to old behaviors.

If you should decide to go with professional treatment for prescription drug addiction, there are various options available based on the specific needs of the individual. Combining individual counseling and therapy with group support work helps patients let go of destructive thoughts and behaviors and learn new, more positive coping strategies. This individualized, closely monitored program has the highest chance of success thanks to the close attention paid to individuals’ responses and needs during treatment.


Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

In addition to the support that patients will experience in the detox phase of recovery, an added benefit of inpatient treatment for those that struggle with prescription medication is the medication guidance they will receive from expert medical professionals. Drug treatment centers will have available medical professionals that can guide patients toward pre-approved medications that are non-addictive or non-narcotic.


Sometimes patients will experience pain from a prior accident or injury that will require some pain medication strategy; in this situation, a counselor can work with a patient to develop a plan to avoid resuming addictive behaviors while still making sure to help the patient alleviate their pain. This may take the form of a physical therapy regiment combined with a formal arrangement to only receive medications from a trusted and supportive family member or friend. When dealing with a chronic pain situation in early recovery, it is important to assess the risks of relapse while also monitoring a patient’s pain tolerance.

Once the intensive rehab period is over, patients must now bring the lessons and strategies learned in rehab into the everyday world. Support from family and outside addiction support groups is also crucial to reinforce the commitment to a new lifestyle and maintain discipline as recovering patients reintegrate. It’s important at this stage for those in recovery to be mindful of the situations that led to addiction in the first place and avoid situations or people that might trigger a relapse in past behavior. It’s also important to remember how this addiction began in the first place. Honesty with doctors may be required, especially when a person becomes ill and a doctor considers prescribing painkillers for increased comfort during recovery.