Prescription drug addiction: the facts
At Rehab Clinics Group we can help you or a relative who is affected by prescription drug addiction and requires the help and support of a detox programme. It is common for drug addictions to just be associated with illegal and illicit drugs, and many people do not realise that prescription drugs can be just as addictive and destructive to a person’s life.
Prescription drugs that are given by GPs can have psychoactive effects if they are abused, and the most common types of prescription drugs that are used in this way include painkillers, sleeping pills, weight loss aids and anti-depressants. Long term abuse of prescription drugs can cause the body lasting damage to organs such as the heart and liver. It can also cause mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, particularly if drugs such as Benzodiazepines are being used, in which ever-increasing amounts are required to achieve the desired effect of feeling calm and in control of situations.
If you need help for a prescription drug addiction and require a detox, get in touch with us at Rehab Clinics Group today, where after assessing you carefully we can put you in touch with a supportive detox centre that can meet your needs.
Self assessment: do I need a prescription drug detox?
If you are wondering whether you might need a detox for a prescription drug addiction, complete the following self assessment which evaluates your behaviour in relation to prescribed drugs and medicines. Answer with either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following:
- Have you been booking an increasing number of GP appointments for no reason to gain access to prescription drugs?
- Do you feel you have an increased number of medical complaints that require prescription drugs?
- Has anyone around you noticed or mentioned changes in your behaviour or mood, such as being overly aggressive, angry or paranoid?
- Have you recently been told that you are underperforming at work or school?
- Do you take prescription drugs more than you should?
- Would you do anything to get your hands on prescription drugs?
If you have answered with a ‘yes’ to three or more of the above questions, you could have a prescription drug addiction that requires assistance in rehab. Contact us at Rehab Clinics Group today.
What are the symptoms of prescription drug addiction?
It can be difficult to determine whether a person is fully dependent on prescription drugs, as not all medicines have a strong effect of ‘addiction’, to the point where withdrawal symptoms are experienced if the person abusing them doesn’t take them. There are however behavioural signs to watch out for, including:
- An increase in the number of prescription drugs required to achieve the desired effect.
- Displays of guilt regarding the use of drugs.
- Taking some different prescription drugs to counter the effects of other drugs.
- Denial and/or aggression regarding prescription drug use.
- Requesting repeat prescriptions regularly and/or stockpiling medications.
- Displaying defensive behaviour if a reduced dose of prescription medication is suggested.
- The continuous taking of prescription medications, despite the medical consequences.
Should I choose in-patient or out-patient rehab?
If you opt for an in-patient detox rehabilitation programme for your prescription drug addiction, you will stay as a resident in a treatment facility where you can be closely monitored and supported. Such treatment can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on how severe your prescription drug addiction is. If you decide on outpatient rehab, you’ll visit a clinic frequently for therapy sessions while remaining at home. This process can therefore take longer because you are only at the facility for a set amount of time each week. It is important to determine the severity of your addiction before deciding on in-patient or outpatient rehab – if you are taking large amounts of prescription drugs to the point where you are psychologically dependent on them, it may be worth investing in in-patient rehab for greater success.
What should I expect from a prescription drug detox?
If you are admitted to a rehab centre for treatment, your mental and physical symptoms will be thoroughly assessed so that your trigger points can be found. The root of most prescription drug addictions is physical dependence, and the detox process can therefore be rather quick as the body is gradually weaned off of drugs under the supervision of a medical professional such as a qualified nurse. If necessary, extra medications may be necessary to ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.
In some cases, some patients are not physically addicted but are showing some mental signs of prescription addiction. These cases will not need detox therapy, and will instead be given rehab therapies. Any treatment undertaken at a rehab facility will typically come with up to 12 months of aftercare and support for patients. Rehab for prescription drug addiction will include some or all of the following therapies and recovery techniques:
- Medically supervised, gradual detox
- 1-2-1 Counselling
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Group counselling
- 12-step work
- Alternative methods such as art therapy and meditation
Other detox options for prescription drug abuse include home detox programmes provided by the NHS, and natural detox programmes. For the latter, the patient is required to take supplements and vitamins to boost nutrition and replenish any nourishment that their prescription drug addiction has taken away. This type of detox can prove successful for addictions to some prescribed medicines, but isn’t for everyone. A more extreme version of this type of detox is known as a ‘rapid detox’. This involves the user following the same kind of treatment plan as a natural detox, but with greater amounts of vitamins and supplements taken in a shorter space of time to heal the body more quickly.
On average, it takes between 5-7 days to detox a person from prescription drugs. That said, withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks or even months depending on the severity of the former addiction. When a person has been detoxed for prescription drugs, it does not mean that they are cured of their addiction. The next steps are even more important, and require rehabilitation to prevent relapse. Psychological dependence is addressed through the therapies outlined above.