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Prescription medications help millions of people each day in various ways. From relieving pain to minimizing side effects to recovering from illness or surgery, prescriptions can be quite beneficial, but prescription drug abuse is a big problem.
While most people take their prescriptions as directed, some misuse or abuse them. According to the National Institute On Drug Abuse, in 2017, over 18 million people admitted that they misused prescribed medications within the last 12 months. Not using them as directed can certainly cause you to become dependent or addicted to them.
Prescription drug abuse is just as addictive and dangerous as street drug abuse. Plus, the abuse of prescription drugs can lead to experimentation with other illicit drug use.
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Prescription drug abuse occurs when you use prescription medication in ways your doctor did not prescribe. Using pills from other people’s prescriptions or pills that are not prescribed to you is also prescription drug abuse.
For example, someone may enjoy the way pain pills make them feel, so they steal some of their relative’s pain medication. Another person may lie to their doctor about increased anxiety symptoms so they can get a prescription for anti-anxiety medication that they will abuse.
This kind of drug abuse can turn into an addiction quite easily. Once you become addicted to the drug, it can be quite challenging to stop using it because of withdrawal symptoms. However, when you can identify the problem early, treatment can help you get free from the dependency without you having to experience years of addiction or harsh consequences.
Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs include:
Increased Usage – When you take drugs, you grow tolerant to the effects. This causes you to want to increase the dosage to get the same effects or take them more often. If you’re using your medication more at higher dosages, you could become addicted.
Continued use of the drug – If you’ve become dependent on the drug, you may continue to use or abuse it even when you experience negative consequences. This leads some to “doctor shop”, seeking additional doctors to prescribe them their medication because they’ve run out too soon.
Stealing Or Buying Drugs – If you’re stealing medication from family or friends, or buying them illegally, you’re abusing the drug and could be dependent on it.
Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms – You may begin to experience various withdrawal symptoms if you go a certain amount of time without taking the medication.
Recognizing that you’ve become addicted to your medication is the first step toward getting free from prescription drug abuse. The next step is to consult with an addiction specialist to discuss your plan for getting off the drug.
Talk to an Admissions Coordinator to get started. One of our experts will evaluate your situation, verify your insurance, answer all of your questions, and help you take the first steps.
There are some drugs you shouldn’t stop using cold turkey because there could be serious or even deadly withdrawal symptoms. For example, opioids and benzodiazepines will require a gradual taper to help minimize symptoms and provide a safe detox.
Some prescription drugs aren’t meant for long-term use, as they can damage your body. This is especially true if you’re taking more of the medication than prescribed.
Quitting prescription medications is a process. There are various treatment phases and resources to assist you in overcoming prescription drug addiction.
When you regularly take prescription meds, your body becomes used to them. When you want to stop using them, your body will go into detox. This means that your body works at getting back to homeostasis without that particular drug in its system.
Detoxing typically causes mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. The best way to get through the detox stage is to have supervision by addiction specialists. You can get this at a detox facility or undergo a medical detox at an inpatient treatment center. Some outpatient centers do offer detox care as well.
The detox phase usually lasts about one week. From there, you’re encouraged to continue treatment at a residential or outpatient facility.
It’s helpful to continue treatment at a residential or outpatient treatment center. At SOBA you’ll receive individual counseling, addiction recovery education, and group counseling, and we’ll encourage you to attend meetings outside of treatment such as Narcotics Anonymous.
The time you spend in treatment is a solid investment, as you become strong in your recovery. You can learn how to navigate life without allowing addiction to control you. You’ll also have the opportunity to work on any other emotional or mental issues you may be struggling with.
Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery offer support to stay free from prescription drug abuse. There you can have accountability, learn more about recovery, and connect with peers that may understand what you’ve been going through.
Becoming addicted to a prescription drug is nothing to be ashamed of. Regardless of how you’ve become addicted, know that effective treatment is available. The time you put into recovery now will pay off with a lifetime of freedom from the grip of addictive medications.
Give us a call today, we’ll help you get free from addiction long-term. Our Admissions coordinators are available 24/7 to discuss any questions or concerns you have.
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