The issue of how to stop prescription drug addiction is one that is becoming ever more important throughout the UK and across the rest of the world. Growing numbers of people are developing crippling addictions to the drugs they have been prescribed to help treat medical conditions.
With the potential for abuse so high among many of these drugs, and with most people not even understanding what constitutes abuse, the problem is causing concern among many health experts and governments.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
When considering the question of how to stop prescription drug addiction, it is important to think about the issue of prescription drug abuse. As most people do not even realise when they are abusing their medication, it is a problem that needs to be addressed quickly.
Educating the masses about the dangers of abusing these drugs is of paramount importance, and it must include informing individuals of what abuse actually is. For example, did you know that taking prescription medication that has been prescribed for another person is classed as abuse? Moreover, did you know that it is highly dangerous to do this? Most individuals do not.
It is not uncommon for a person to be prescribed strong painkillers by his or her doctor for a specific condition he or she is suffering with. It is also not uncommon for that person to then offer these painkillers to a friend or family member who is in pain for a similar condition, or even one that is totally unrelated. Many people believe that if these pills worked for them, then they should work in the same way for someone else too.
They fail to realise that there is a lot of doctors to consider when prescribing medication. Depending on the medication, doctors must take the age and weight of a person into consideration. They must also think about any underlying medical conditions that a person has and if he or she is taking any other medications that might interact with the new drug being prescribed. These are critical issues and explains why it is so dangerous to take medication that has been prescribed by a fully trained medical professional for another person.
Another common way that prescription medication is abused is by taking more of the medication than has been advised to do so. Prescription medication is generally administered for temporary relief only, and this is because the potential for abuse and addiction can be quite high. It is easy to develop an increased tolerance to the drug, which can then result in the patient believing that the drug is no longer working as effectively as it was. For some people, there is a temptation to up the dosage without consulting their doctor. This can increase their risk for addiction.
What are the Consequences of Prescription Drug Addiction
It is hard for many to comprehend the very idea of drug addiction being linked to prescription medication. In their minds, prescription drug addiction is not even a thing because there is no way that something prescribed by a doctor could be dangerous.
The truth is that prescription medication can even cause an addiction when taken exactly as prescribed. It is meant for short-term use only unless the benefits of long-term use outweigh the risks. So, when thinking about how to prevent prescription drug addiction, it is important that all issues are fully considered. Educating individuals on the ways in which medication can be abused is the first step, but people must also know about the dangers of such an addiction and what the consequences are.
Prescription drug addiction is like any other addiction in that it can interfere with daily life. While you may have taken prescription drugs initially to treat a health problem, abusing the medication could very easily lead to other health issues.
Depending on the medication you are abusing, you could end up with both mental and physical health problems. Below we list a few of the symptoms associated with prescription drug abuse:
- High blood pressure
- Memory problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Heart attack
- Breathing problems
As well as the health implications of prescription drug addiction, there are social implications too. For example, if you become addicted to your prescription medication, you may find that you have little time for anything else. You might begin neglecting your family members and friends as all that matters to you is the drugs you are taking.
You may lose interest in activities and hobbies that you once enjoyed, and you could find that you cannot be bothered with personal grooming or hygiene. As your personality changes, your relationships with those around you will inevitably suffer. They will notice that you have changed and that your behaviour seems different. They might not realise why in the early days, which can cause all sorts of friction.
If you allow your prescription drug abuse to continue without getting treatment for it, then it is likely to get worse. You could find that your ability to work is severely hampered, which might lead to financial implications for you and your family members.
Do You Have an Addiction to Prescription Medication?
Coming to terms with the fact that prescription drug addiction could be the cause of your problems will not be easy. Most people are reluctant to admit to having an addiction, particularly if they have never even touched an illegal drug or if their use of alcohol is well within the recommended guidelines.
Addiction is an illness that is surrounded by stigma, and most people have a negative view of it. They believe that it is something that only affects a specific type of person and those who are ‘bad’ or ‘weak’. This is not the case and the truth is that prescription drug addiction is a growing problem that can affect anyone. If you are affected though, you should know that help is available. Nevertheless, before you can access this help, you must be prepared to admit you have a problem. Taking a look at your behaviour will help you to determine if you could be in need of help. For example:
- Do you take prescription medication that was prescribed for another person?
- Are you taking more of your medication than advised to by your doctor?
- Have you ever visited more than one doctor to secure a second prescription?
- Do you feel as though your medication is not working in the same way that it did when you first started taking it?
- Do you feel anxious when you are nearing the end of your prescription? Do you worry that your doctor might not prescribe your medication again?
- Do you feel as though you cannot function properly without your medication?
- Is your daily life affected because you are unable to carry out normal tasks while under the influence of your medication?
- Have you begun sourcing your medication elsewhere, such as on the streets or on the internet?
If you can relate to any of the above, then you may have a problem. Perhaps you are still convinced that you do not have a problem, despite your loved ones expressing concerns. This is a common scenario. Many family members and friends will notice a problem long before the loved one ever realises he or she is in trouble. They will be able to see the changes in behaviour that may not be so obvious to the person abusing the drugs.
It is often the case that the individual only realises he or she has a problem when they stop taking their drugs to prove a point. When they then notice that they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms in response to them stopping their medication, they will have little choice but to accept there is a physical dependence. This can be a shock. But the good news is that help is available and, if you are one such affected individual, you are not alone. You are not the first person to develop an addiction to prescription medication and you will not be the last.
The issue of how to stop prescription drug addiction is one that requires urgent attention, but for now, there is help available for those who have found themselves in this position. That help comes by way of a detox and rehabilitation programme; here at Oasis Recovery, we can help with both.
Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction
Overcoming an addiction to a chemical mood-altering substance such as prescription medication is a three-part process that involves a detox and a rehab programme, followed by aftercare. Detox is necessary to address the physical addiction to the medication and begins when you quit. At this point, your body will attempt to get rid of any remaining toxins that have built up; in doing so though, you are likely to experience a number of withdrawal symptoms.
To ensure your comfort and safety throughout the detox, it is recommended that you complete the process in a dedicated facility with experienced staff on hand to supervise and monitor you. This process usually lasts around one to two weeks, and in such a facility, you may be prescribed medication to ease any discomfort you might be experiencing.
After detox, the process of rehabilitation begins where you will address the issues that caused the addiction in the first place. Often, it is a combination of negative thoughts and beliefs that can lead to addictions. Many will use self-destructive actions to deal with the painful or negative feelings and emotions they are experiencing. These are issues that need to be addressed to prevent the affected person returning to addictive behaviours in the future.
Oasis Recovery offers fantastic recovery programmes for those needing help for all types of addiction. We offer supervised detox programmes followed by intensive inpatient programmes designed to help you get well in the shortest amount of time. If you are interested in overcoming a prescription drug addiction, we can help. Please call today for more information on our programmes and the next steps you should take to overcome this illness.