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Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment—Deciding When to Get Help


Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment—Deciding When to Get Help

At one time, the phrase “drug addiction” may have brought to mind an image of someone hooked on illegal street drugs like heroin or methamphetamine. Unfortunately, this phrase increasingly applies to the growing number of people who have become addicted to legal and legitimately-prescribed medications. And while some people intentionally abuse prescription medications, many others begin taking the pills prescribed by their doctor for a real medical necessity.

Usually, prescription drugs are intended to be taken for a limited time. However, due to their highly addictive nature, becoming addicted to certain medications doesn’t take much time at all. It is, therefore, beneficial to understand the dangers associated with some commonly prescribed drugs before you take them, and if you believe you or a loved one already have a problem, to know where to get help for prescription drug addiction treatment. 

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs 

With the vast number of drugs prescribed each year, it is important to understand which ones have addictive potential. Among those commonly prescribed, the ones most often implicated in addiction fall into these categories:

  • Anxiety medications and sedatives like Valium and Xanax.
  • Insomnia medications such as Ambien.
  • Pain medications like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Norco. 
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medications including Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine.

Though you may be thinking to yourself, “My doctor wouldn’t have prescribed them if they were dangerous,” the reality is that individuals react very differently to medications. A drug that may work effectively for a short time can cause changes in the brain when used longer. And while these drugs are highly addictive, they are also legal and readily available.

The danger associated with these drugs is that just like alcohol and other addictive substances, they activate the brain’s reward center, creating a sense of euphoria. In a relatively short period of time, repeated use results in tolerance—more of the drug is required to achieve the same effect. As this tolerance develops, the body also comes to depend on the substance, as nothing else will satisfy the reward center in the same way.

Though prescription drugs are legal and purchased in a pharmacy, abuse is unfortunately quite common. Methods of abuse can include taking more medicine than was prescribed or using drugs prescribed to someone else. Addiction may cause a person to continue taking a drug longer than was recommended or seek prescriptions from multiple doctors. It may lead to a desperation that causes risky and atypical behavior like stealing prescription meds from family and friends or buying drugs on the street.

Recognizing the Need for Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

Developing an awareness of the potential for prescription drug addiction is a way to be proactive about preventing and dealing with this dangerous possibility. This knowledge can be especially beneficial when deciding to get help. Here are some things to consider:

Preventing Prescription Drug Addiction

Some people preemptively talk to their physicians about their concerns when an injury or planned surgery necessitates taking certain types of prescription medications. This is an especially wise course of action for anyone who has a personal or family history of addiction, but is a good practice for anyone taking potentially addictive medication. In many cases, doctors can prescribe an alternative drug that has less potential for addiction.

Getting Help Early

When a developing addiction is caught in the early stages, there may be ways to prevent full-blown prescription drug abuse. The key is getting help from a physician with knowledge and experience in dealing with this issue. If you recognize that you are unable to stop taking a drug without experiencing uncomfortable symptoms or find yourself taking more and more of it to get the same effect, it is time to ask for help. A knowledgeable physician may be able to help you taper off of the drug safely without experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

If you or a loved one is taking prescription drugs that have addictive potential, it is essential to recognize the signs of trouble: a preoccupation with the drug, cravings, or pain that doesn’t seem to go away. Another warning sign is if you or your loved one experiences withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not taken. Though these vary with the particular drug involved, some common withdrawal symptoms include irritability, sleep disturbances, mood changes, loss of appetite, chills, and shaking. Without medical intervention, some drugs cause potentially life-threatening changes including seizures, coma, and cardiac arrhythmias. 

Accessing Specialized Treatments

With the help of a specialized medical team, there are safe and effective prescription drug addiction treatments available, including medically supervised detox stabilization. Under close supervision, the challenging and potentially dangerous process of clearing the drug from the body can occur in a safe environment. Certain prescription drug addictions, including opioid addiction, may benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT and other innovative treatments may help you to recover more comfortably and with less risk of relapse.

How To Initiate Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

If you are concerned about prescription drug dependence in yourself or a loved one, it is important to act quickly. Early intervention may prevent overdose or other serious complications. Locating a rehab facility that has a full range of treatment options will ensure that your unique needs are met. The treatment center should have knowledgeable admissions staff who can answer your questions and connect you and your family with appropriate resources. A supervised detox program followed by a treatment path designed to meet you or your loved one’s specific needs will offer the best chance of beating prescription drug addiction. The first decisive step toward ending this dangerous addiction and beginning the road to recovery can be accomplished by making a phone call and asking for help.

If you are seeking prescription drug addiction treatment, the staff at New Choices Treatment Centers is ready to help. Reach out to chat online or by phone at (726) 888-7003. We can answer your questions and help you to safely put prescription drug addiction behind you.