Prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high which means that treating prescription drug addiction is more imperative than ever before. Teens are overdosing at shocking rates, more people are becoming involved in the legal system, and people are even dying from prescription drug abuse. The numbers are literally in the millions. The highest numbers represent opiate-related pain medications. In fact, according to a study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) over the decade from 1998-2008 the number of those who sought out help from prescription drug treatment rose nearly 350%.
These numbers signify that there is even a greater need for prescription drug treatment than ever before. While some drugs warrant more of a psychological treatment from the drugs this is not the case with prescription drug treatment. People that are coming off of prescription drugs need a more stringent line of treatment that includes medical supervision during detox, a formal inpatient treatment, counseling regimens, and a complete after care program.
People that abuse prescription drugs usually develop a severe addiction problem and withdrawal from the drugs is, in fact, life threatening. No one that is abusing prescription drugs should ever consider anything other than professional prescription drug treatment. This is because there is a medical staff constantly monitoring patients in detox and they can make the often difficult process of treating prescription drug addiction much easier to get through.
The detox process is followed by residential prescription drug treatment. This program will last a minimum of 30 days. The program is supervised and quite structured offering complete concentration on treating prescription drug addiction. The prescription drug treatment includes individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, drug education, and how to make healthy lifestyle choices. These are all of the tools necessary for long-term abstinence.
The exact type of prescription drug treatment that each patient requires can vary based on various factors. The first factor is if the patient is addicted to opiate pain pills, stimulants, tranquilizers, or a combination. Each drug type requires a different form of prescription drug treatment so that it is successful. This is why it is so important that every individual gets a thorough evaluation before entering prescription drug treatment.
The basis of prescription drug treatment is basically the same as it is for other types of addictions however it is more likely that a combination of efforts will be used for treating prescription drug addiction. These may include cognitive behavioral therapy to target the way that patients think about and make decisions about drugs. It is also important for the patient to understand the root causes of their addiction and that a better life is waiting for them once they are clean and sober.
The reason that treating prescription drug addiction is different than treating other addictions has a lot to do with the way that the brain is affected by prescription drugs, especially opiate pain pills. Opiates stimulate opiate receptors that are all over the brain, stimulating the brain’s reward system. Opiates affect pleasure and pain relief in the brain. The brain produces endorphins that trigger opiate receptors. This must all be thoroughly understood when effectively treating prescription drug addiction.
Treating prescription drug abuse is much more difficult than treating other drug addictions. While all recovering drug addicts do experience powerful cravings that often lead to relapse, treating prescription drug addiction is more complicated. This is because of what the prescriptions often do to the brain. More simply put, to treat cocaine addiction and prescription opiate addiction the same would be a great wrongness to the patient.
Because of new developments in technology there is much more success in treating prescription drug abuse than ever before but there is always room for improvement. Pairing behavioral and pharmacological efforts together is working the best right now. Treating prescription drug abuse must encompass education that specializes in living without drugs, how to handle drug cravings, how to avoid situations that glorify substance abuse, and what to do in the event of a relapse.
Cheryl Hinneburg writes web content for KLEAN Treatment Center in Los Angeles CA . KLEAN specializes in offering dual diagnosis drug and alcohol treatment. Cheryl is currently pursuing her MS in Substance Abuse Counseling.