Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

Prescription drug addiction is the largest human-made epidemic in America. Some prescriptions, when taken as directed, are so powerful they can lead to dependence and addiction. For this reason, it causes many people to buy illicit drugs on the streets. But, prescription drug addiction treatment can stop the downward spiral of addiction.

What is Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment?

Approximately 52 million Americans over age 12 have previously taken prescription drugs for a non-medical reason. This use slowly leads to dependence. Some people don’t even realize that recreational use has progressed to addiction until the consequences are felt. But, prescription drug addiction treatment helps people reach and maintain Recovery for Life.

Prescription drugs help manage pain and discomfort in those with medical conditions. Doctors use medications to treat physical illnesses such as cancer and asthma. But, medications also treat mental health conditions such as anxiety and bipolar disorder. 

However, the recreational misuse of these medications is common in Missouri and around the world. Some people still believe if they have a prescription, then it’s safe to misuse the drug. But this is not the case. 

Any misuse of prescription drugs can have severe consequences. For instance, addiction can destroy relationships and careers. But the most severe impact is a fatal overdose. But, with prescription drug addiction treatment, people can live a healthy, drug-free life. 

What are Commonly Misused Prescription Drugs?

Although understanding the different types of prescription drugs is essential to understanding addiction, so is knowing how each drug works. This includes knowing the various risks of each specific drug. Education on how drugs affect the body can help families understand both addiction and prescription drug addiction treatment. 

There are three categories of prescription drugs that are of most concern. Each drug in the specific category typically work the same and have the same benefits. The three categories include opioid, CNS stimulants, and CNS depressants. 

Opioids

Opioids are designed to treat pain. However, they don’t treat inflammation, fight infection, or make changes in a person’s health. They help by tricking the brain into ignoring the discomfort making it easier to function. 

Specific opioids include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycontin
  • Oxycodone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Opana
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin

Opioids change the chemical levels in the brain. Typically when something rewarding or pleasant happens, the brain releases dopamine. So, opioids tell the brain to release a lot of dopamine, causing people to feel happy although their illness is painful. 

However, this boost of dopamine can become addictive and cause people to use more and more of these drugs. This extreme misuse can depress breathing and lead to overdose and death. In fact, in 2018, Health and Human Services reported almost 48,000 people died from an opioid overdose. 

CNS Stimulants

CNS stimulants tend to boost or stimulate the brain. These drugs work by increasing the release or blocking the reuptake of chemicals in the brain, causing reward, focus, and attention. While you may assume CNS stimulants make a person jittery, it has the opposite effect on specific mental health conditions. 

CNS stimulants help those with disorders such as ADHD maintain focus and attention. This focus allows people to complete tasks they could never finish before. Furthermore, misusing CNS stimulants is not typically an issue. 

For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry states that only 22 percent of young people with ADHD misused their medication. However, misuse can lead to addiction.

Examples of CNS stimulants include:

  • Adderall
  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine
  • Ritalin
  • Vyvanse

CNS Depressants

Drugs in this category slow down the brain. This slowdown happens by adjusting gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is the chemical used in the brain’s communication system. 

When GABA levels are reduced, the whole system slows down, interfering with communication. Individuals with mental health conditions such as anxiety and panic disorders benefit from this slowdown. 

CNS depressants help maintain equilibrium when a person feels an attack looming. But changing how brain chemicals work is very risky. In fact, changing GABA pathways can increase dopamine releases. As a result, people may feel euphoric and sedated simultaneously. 

The effect of sedation and euphoria can lead people to use depressants recreationally. Some people may just use depressants, but others may mix them with alcohol or cocaine. This combination, however, can slow breathing to fatal levels.

Above all, the changes from these drugs can cause long-term issues. For example, stopping the use of depressants can cause profound sickness. So people with an addiction to depressants often require prescription drug addiction treatment to recover. 

Examples of CNS depressants include:

  • Halcion
  • Klonopin
  • Valium
  • Xanax

Can Sleeping Pills be Addictive?

Sleeping pills are sensitive hypnotics that help with insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, these drugs are typically for short-term use due to the risk of dependence. Even though sleeping pills are helpful, they have extreme risks and side effects. 

Sleeping pills include:

  • Ambien
  • Lunesta
  • Sonata

Ambien, for example, is considered fast-acting, but it’s also a long-lasting drug. For this reason, people who take Ambien may overdose if they take a dose before the previous one wore off. Some people may feel euphoric instead of sleepy, which can lead to misuse and addiction. 

What are Prescription Opioids?

Opioids are painkillers found naturally in opium poppy plants. Some prescription opioids come directly from the plant, while others are lab-made. Although prescription opioids are used for moderate to severe pain, they also help ease coughing and diarrhea. 

Using opioids makes people feel relaxed, which is the leading cause of recreational misuse. But, opioids are extremely dangerous and highly addictive, often leading to overdose and death. The most dangerous opioid is heroin, which is never used medicinally in the U.S.

Common prescription opioids include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxymorphone

Common Prescription Drug Statistics in Missouri

Almost 338,000 Missourians misused drugs in 2018. But, Missouri is the only state without a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Nevertheless, the state is working hard to reduce opioid dependency. 

  • In Missouri, the number of opioid overdose deaths in 2018 was 1,132. While opioid deaths in 2017 were 952. 
  • Synthetic opioid deaths, mainly from fentanyl, rose 40 percent from 618 in 2017 to 868 in 2018. 
  • 294,000 individuals struggle with alcohol use disorder.
  • About 17,000 people used heroin in 2018, with most users being over age 25. 

Facts about Drug Treatment including Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment in Missouri

  • Between 2013 and 2017, 170,000 Missourians attended recovery treatment.
  • In 2017, 33,462 people sought treatment, with the average age being 19.
  • Of people 18 to 25 years old, almost 13 percent struggle with alcohol use disorder, and about 7 percent struggle with substance use disorder but didn’t seek treatment.

Are Prescription Opioids Gateway Drugs?

It is typical for chronic pain sufferers to take a handful of pills each day. But this can become very costly as prescription painkillers can be expensive, not to mention the cost of doctor’s appointments. Unfortunately, this leads to some people buying other opioids off the streets, such as fentanyl or heroin, which is cheaper. 

So, yes, prescription opioids can be gateway drugs to polysubstance abuse. And, substance use disorder specialists have been saying this for many years. For this reason, access to prescription drug addiction treatment is vital in Missouri and across the globe.

prescription drug treatment

What are the Steps of Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment?

When a person is ready for recovery, it’s vital to explore all prescription drug addiction treatment options. The length and intensity of treatment depend on the specific drug or drugs a person is struggling with. However, prescription drug addiction treatment incorporates the following treatments. 

  • Detoxification – The first step for most addictions is medical detox. This phase of prescription drug addiction treatment safely rids the body of toxins while managing withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Behavioral Therapy – Individual, group and family therapy is crucial to the recovery journey. Behavioral therapies help people repair past traumas, mend relationships, and build healthy coping skills. 
  • Pharmacotherapy – Medication-assisted treatment manages withdrawal symptoms, prevents recurrence of use, and treats co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Long-Term Follow-Up – Relapse prevention plans are designed to help people maintain Recovery for Life. Part of preventing recurrence of use is attending support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups help people stay on track and hold them accountable for their recovery. 

What Types of Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Programs are Available?

Although inpatient or residential treatment offers the best chance at recovery, some people need to attend outpatient prescription drug addiction treatment. Most treatment settings provide the same therapy options, but inpatient treatment offers round-the-clock supervision and help. 

Residential treatment requires members to live at the facility for 28 to 90 days and sometimes even longer. Members spend their days in individual and group therapies, including holistic therapies such as yoga and mindfulness. The most intense prescription drug addiction treatment, inpatient treatment, monitor every minute of a member’s day. 

Partial hospitalization treatment offers intense treatment and monitoring in a medical setting. But, unlike inpatient treatment, members spend their evenings and nights at home. This treatment setting allows people to attend therapy while still caring for their families. 

Outpatient treatment programs offer the most flexibility for members in prescription drug addiction treatment. Members can attend therapy around their work and personal obligations. The main focus of outpatient treatment is preventing recurrence of use. 

Transitional housing offers safe and stable housing to members who have completed a recovery program and do not have stable housing. Members attend support groups and work while following house rules and maintaining recovery.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

If you or someone you love could benefit from prescription drug addiction treatment, then Sana Lake BWC can help. Our doctors and therapists are waiting to help you safely detox and heal from past traumas that lead to addiction. Contact us today for more information on our prescription drug addiction treatment. 

References:

https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0890856709620608

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/missouri-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/how-can-prescription-drug-addiction-be-treated