Prescription Drug Rehab
Prescription drugs are some of the most abused drugs in our society. The disease of drug addiction does not discriminate between age groups or economic backgrounds. It doesn’t care whether an individual is wealthy, educated, struggling or a high school dropout. It can attack anyone who has ever taken addictive prescription drugs, even if they follow the directions.
Seeking drug treatment for a prescription drug addiction is a sound way to combat the devastating effects of the disease. Prescription drug rehab follows a dedicated process that has many facets and benefits tailored to the needs of each individual. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction to prescription medications, understanding how rehab works and what to expect from the process can help your family reach the decision to treat the disease.
Table of Contents
Why Do People Need Rehab?
Not using drugs is only one of many aspects to complete drug rehabilitation. When an individual has reached the point of addiction to a prescription drug, illicit drug or alcohol, they have suffered changes in their brain that make quitting incredibly difficult. In the case of prescription drug abuse, the addicted individual may not have even realized these changes were occurring or that their supposed authentic drug use by prescription has led to a problem.
While rehab has a goal to help individuals suffering from addiction give up the substances to which they have become addicted, there is more to the overall concept. The purpose of rehabilitation is to restore an individual to the point in their lives where they are making good decisions. The goals of rehab are fairly simple in most cases. They include:
- Teach the recovering addict how to cope with stress and other issues that may have contributed to drug use.
- Teach the recovering addict life skills to fight temptations that may come from cravings or other withdrawal symptoms.
- Treat any underlying psychological issues that may have contributed to or stemmed from the drug addiction.
- Re-establish a healthy lifestyle.
Two Faces of Rehab
Unlike illicit drugs, such as heroin or LSD, prescription drugs are available legally in the United States. This leads to two types of prescription drug addictions from a social standpoint.
The first prescription drug addict is much like any other addict. They obtain the drugs illegally, through manipulation of medical services, theft from friends or family, and purchasing the illegally obtained drugs over the Internet or on the street through drug dealers.
The second type of addict may live on the right side of the law and have no idea they are treading on dangerous ground. They obtain their prescriptions for chronic conditions like stress or pain through regular visits with their doctor or other medical professional. They take their medications as directed or perhaps they take leeway with directions that include “as needed” in the description. They do not shop for additional doctors to get more prescriptions. In time, their pain levels increase – particularly with opiate medications – and they develop a tolerance to the drugs. As dosages are increased and adjusted, they become dependent upon the drugs they think are completely safe.
Prescription drug rehab takes both of these situations into account and can develop a treatment plan that will address the needs of both kinds of recovering addicts.
The Need for Detox Services
Prescription drugs are designed to help alleviate pain and discomfort, but some people choose to take the drugs for completely different reasons. It’s a common occurrence, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that 20 percent of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for recreational purposes. Dabbling in prescription drug abuse can result in addiction, and when that happens, detox is the first step people need to take in order to get well once more.
Differing Treatment Routes
People who are addicted to sedative medications or anti-anxiety medications might have developed persistent brain changes due to that abuse. As a result, they can’t simply stop taking the medications cold turkey. In some cases, abrupt withdrawal from these medications can cause seizures. Instead of suggesting a rapid detox, experts often suggest that people work closely with their doctors to develop a slow, steady, tapering dosage of the drugs they were once addicted to. The detox might take longer to complete, but it might also be safer for the person to go through.
Opiate medications, on the other hand, might benefit from a quicker approach. This might be of help to people who are addicted to:
In a standard opiate withdrawal program, people are given replacement medications that can mimic the action of the drugs they were once addicted to. While on these medications, they’ll avoid the side effects of withdrawal and feel able to work on developing healthy habits.
At Axis, we offer a medically supervised detox program for people struggling with prescription drug addiction. We follow that detox program with either inpatient or outpatient addiction rehab programs, with a proven track record of success. To find out more about our programs, please contact us via our toll-free telephone line.
Inpatient or Outpatient?
If an individual is suffering from addiction to prescription drugs, there are two options for the main drug treatment program. The first is an intensive outpatient program where participants live at home while they attend classes, therapy and group sessions daily, or nearly every day. These programs are held at treatment centers or mental health clinics and can range from luxurious to basic in their design.
Some outpatient programs include alternative therapies such as equine-assisted therapy, yoga, martial arts, or art and music programs. Others cover the basics of treatment such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and health management. Many programs will include both treatment options.
Outpatient programs are created in tandem with the individual recovering addict and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, or even years. The length of time an individual will continue in their outpatient therapy is unique to the individual. The benefits to an outpatient program are:
- They are often less costly.
- Insurance often provides for more benefits for outpatient care.
- The recovering addict can continue to care for children.
- The recovering addict can continue to work and provide for their families.
Inpatient programs, by their nature, can be shorter than outpatient programs. The individual needs of the recovering addict will determine how long he or she will remain as a patient in a residential treatment program, however.
Inpatient programs offer some additional benefits to the recovering addict. While outpatient programs offer flexibility, an inpatient program will immerse the recovering addict in an atmosphere entirely dedicated to the healing process. Inpatient facilities for prescription drug rehab can be elaborate, holistic environments with luxury surroundings, or they might be more modest, providing excellent care but more basic, hospital surroundings. Both types of inpatient facilities can treat a recovering addict and help them understand their disease and how to manage it.
If an individual suffering from addiction chooses to enter an inpatient, residential prescription drug rehab program, they can expect an entirely new way of life while they are in treatment. When they first arrive at the treatment center, they will most likely be subjected to a search of their person and their belongings. This is to prevent any unauthorized prescription drug use while the individual is living at the center.
One way to make this process less humiliating is to understand the need for it. The staff of a treatment center does not judge patients. Because drug addiction changes the way in which a person makes decisions and their clarity of good judgment, it is not unusual for a newcomer to sobriety to expect they might be justified in bringing a few painkillers along for their achy, sore muscles. Staff members are simply doing their job to get the addict off on the right foot toward recovery.
After the individual has been checked into the treatment center, depending upon the time of day, they will either meet with their counseling staff to receive their workbooks or other materials of the treatment program, or they may be taken to their room to settle in for the night. The following day, or later the same day, the recovering addict might expect initial counseling sessions to begin, a tour of the facility or medical exams to establish baselines for conditions such as blood pressure, body temperature and withdrawal symptoms.
What if I Don’t Want to Participate?
Prescription drug rehab is not a vacation, although the surroundings in some facilities make it feel like a resort. Rehab is hard work. A recovering addict is expected to participate in their own recovery and make contributions to the community. The more sincere participation an individual contributes, the more quickly the program will come to a satisfying conclusion. The staff of many treatment centers is trained in handling recovering addicts and their sometimes volatile emotions, however. The most important aspect of recovery in a prescription drug rehab setting is to be honest with yourself and your treatment team so the right course of action will prevail.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?
Drug addiction is an inadequately understood disease. Researchers have been studying addiction for many years, and they still do not know what causes it. There is evidence that our genes play a role, and there is evidence that psychological conditions left untreated can also contribute.
On the other side of the prior mental health issue is the fact that drug addiction can lead to disorders such as psychosis, depression or anxiety because of the physical way our bodies react to the drugs as well as the life-destroying aspects of the addiction itself. For instance, an individual may have lost his or her job due to their drug use, which leads to a lack of funds to support his or her family. This can lead to a lack of insurance and an inability to obtain their prescription drugs legally, which can then lead to activities the individual may not have considered previously – ones that fall outside the law. This can bring the individual to legal problems such as arrest, fines and legal fees. All of this pressure might result in major depression and anxiety issues which will need to be treated alongside the addiction in order for addiction treatment to be successful.
Will I Be Cured When Rehab Is Over?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for prescription drug addiction or any other addiction. Like many other diseases, such as diabetes or various types of cancer, there are treatments available that can help an individual manage their disease but there is no finite cure. Certain behaviors contribute to the furtherance of addiction, for instance:
- Associating with known drug abusers or addicts
- Failing to understand how addiction works and making appropriate changes
- Discontinuing medications prescribed to treat underlying medical or emotional disorders that contribute to addiction activities
- Discontinuing aftercare treatment such as psychological counseling and addiction education
Just as someone who suffers from certain types of diabetes must carefully watch their diet, blood sugar levels and take their insulin to stave off the worst symptoms of their disease, an individual who suffers from addiction must take care to continue their treatment after prescription drug rehab is over, in order to prevent relapses of their condition.