If you think that you or a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, you’re not alone. Almost 12 million people take prescription drugs in the UK and are struggling to stop, which equates to almost a quarter of the population. [i]
Taking the first step towards treatment is important with any addiction – including prescription drug addiction. However, with so many rehab centres located all around the UK, it can be tough to find the best treatment facility for you.
This is where we can help. At Help4Addiction, we can find the right prescription drug rehabilitation for you, considering your preferences, circumstances, and requirements.
Types of Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs are prescribed for legitimate medical conditions, whether it be for the flu, pain, depression and anxiety, or many more. However, when talking about prescription drug addiction, we aren’t talking about Ventolin inhalers or folic acid tablets.
We’re talking about addictive medications such as stimulants, sedatives, opiates, antipsychotics, and antidepressant and antianxiety tablets. Read on to learn more about these core groups of addictive prescription medications.
Stimulant drugs work to increase your energy and attention levels, which is why they may be prescribed to treat medical issues such as narcolepsy or ADHD. Some commonly prescribed stimulants include Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Dexedrine.
Although these drugs are safe if taken as prescribed, it is possible to abuse these medications and become addicted. Prescription drug misuse can lead to substance use disorder (SUD) with any drug, including stimulants. [ii]
Opioids work by affecting your central nervous system, binding to the opioid receptors in your central nervous system to lower your body’s physical reaction to pain. Although many people think of heroin when they think of opioid drugs, opiates can also be prescribed.
Opioid drugs can be prescribed for pain – both acute and chronic pain. Some common opiate-based prescription painkillers include Codeine, Oxycodone/ Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Morphine and Tramadol. [iii]
Abusing opioids can be deadly, and can put you at risk of an opioid overdose. If you think that you or somebody you know is having an opioid overdose, seek medical assistance immediately as it is considered a medical emergency. In many opioid cases, people are given Naloxone. Naloxone/ Suboxone is an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of opioids. [iv]
Sedatives work to relax your muscles, and can also relieve feelings of anxiety. Some sedatives that are commonly prescribed include benzodiazepines as well as diazepam.
Using sedatives frequently for long periods of time can lead to you developing a dependence and sedative drug addiction. Some other drugs in the same category include tranquilisers and some forms of hypnotics. You may be prescribed Xanax or Ambien to relieve sleep problems or to treat generalised anxiety disorder. [v]
Psychiatric drugs are prescribed for mental health conditions and can include antidepressants and antianxiety medications. They can be addictive – especially when taken for long periods of time on a higher dose.
This means that if you stop taking prescribed psychiatric drugs after a long time, you may experience a combination of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. In the case of antidepressants, this is known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome.
Prescription Drug Addiction Explained
Just like illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin, as well as nicotine and alcohol, prescription medication can be addictive. Many people are under the impression that prescription drugs are safe and you can’t get addicted to them – unfortunately, this is not the case. Prescription drugs can be just as addictive as other drugs and substances – especially when it comes to drug abuse.
It is possible to develop a physical dependence on prescription drugs even if they are prescribed for a legitimate medical condition and you follow the advice given by a medical health professional. However, you’re less likely to develop an addiction if you take the drugs as prescribed.
Long-term use of prescription drugs can lead to you developing physical dependence and/ or psychological dependence. This means that when you stop taking them or go from a high dose to a lower dose, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.
The withdrawal symptoms will likely be worse if you quit them cold turkey, which is why in many prescription drug rehab centres, you will come off them (detox) slowly.
The main types of prescription drugs that people get addicted to include sedatives, opiates, stimulants, antipsychotic medications, antidepressants and antianxiety medications. Read on to learn about prescription drug abuse, and how serious it can be.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is not the same as prescription drug addiction – although they both fall under the category of substance abuse disorder.
Prescription drug abuse involves taking prescribed medications in any way other than being told by the doctor. This can include:
- Taking more frequently than prescribed
- Taking a higher dose than prescribed/ than needed
- Taking somebody else’s prescription drugs
- Taking prescription drugs for any other reasons than prescribed (e.g to feel ‘high’)
- Mixing prescription medications with alcohol or other drugs
- Crushing up tablets or emptying capsules to snort [vi]
Abusing prescribed medication can have many negative (and serious) consequences – and the effects can vary depending on the severity of the drug abuse and the type of drug. For example, abusing opioids can lead to opioid overdose, which can be fatal.
Some people that are addicted to prescription medications aren’t aware of their addiction until they stop or they lower their dose and begin to experience symptoms of withdrawal.
If you abuse prescription medication and can’t stop, or you think you may have an addiction, seeking treatment is the best thing you can do.
Read on to find out what to expect from the drug addiction treatment process, from detoxification to secondary treatment/ aftercare. We’ll also explain in more detail how our team at Help4Addiction can help you overcome addiction.
The Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Process
Taking the first step into treatment can be daunting – but the more you know about it, the more prepared you’ll be. The prescription drug addiction treatment process can vary from clinic to clinic, although most rehab centres begin treatment with detoxification, move on to the therapy stage of treatment, and finish with secondary treatment (aka aftercare).
The amount of time you spend in rehab can vary depending on a variety of factors – for example, the severity of your addiction and the prescription drug you’re addicted to. At Help4Addiction, we can find you a 7-day rehab treatment plan, a 14-day plan, a 28-day plan, or an even longer extended rehab program.
It’s not just the length of treatment that can vary – the type of treatment can also vary. The three main forms of prescription drug rehab include residential rehab/ inpatient rehab, quasi-residential rehab, and outpatient rehab. Read on to learn about the addiction treatment process in more detail, from start to finish.
Prescription Drug Detoxification
The first stage of addiction treatment, for both prescription drug addiction and illicit drug addiction (e.g heroin addiction), involves detoxing from the drug or substance.
A drug detox aims at dealing with the physical aspects of addiction and minimising the damage caused by addiction. This stage doesn’t deal with the psychological, behavioural, or social aspects of addiction – and focuses solely on the physical addiction. [vii]
During the detoxification stage, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms. When it comes to severe drug addictions, you may be better off opting for a medically supervised detox at a residential rehab facility.
Some prescription drug addiction detoxes can be dangerous, which is why you’re better off detoxing with medical assistance (medically assisted detox).
The severity of your symptoms can vary depending on your drug use history, drug abuse history, and personal factors such as your height and weight. In medical detox, you may be given detox medication to deal with some of the more uncomfortable symptoms.
For example, if you are detoxing from opioids, you may be given a substitute drug such as methadone. This can ease the withdrawal process and help you manage the withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. It can also prevent you from buying street drugs, which can be dangerous. [viii]
Prescription Drug Addiction Therapy
After successfully detoxing from prescription drugs and your symptoms of withdrawal are under control, you may move on to the next stage of your prescription drug addiction treatment plan. This is because therapy works to deal with the psychological and behavioural aspects of addiction rather than the physical aspects of addiction.
Therapy aims not only to improve your confidence and general well-being but aims at giving you a further understanding of yourself and your addiction – for example, your triggers or any root causes of your addiction.
Different treatment centres offer different therapy facilities – and some may have more options than others. For example, private rehab facilities tend to offer more options such as holistic therapies (e.g art therapy or sports therapy).
Some common forms of therapy in rehab include:
- CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)
- DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy)
- Counselling with addiction counsellors
- Interpersonal therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapies
Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most common forms of addiction therapy. It is a talking therapy based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, actions and physical sensations are connected, and that you can work to break negative cycles and patterns.[ix]
Secondary Treatment For Prescription Drug Addiction
The transition when leaving rehab and returning back to your everyday life can be a tough one, which is why so many people decide to receive secondary treatment. The aim of secondary treatment is to provide support after completing rehab, with the ultimate goal being to prevent relapse.
There are many forms of aftercare – some people will choose to attend group therapy, whereas others prefer one-to-one support with a counsellor. Many people choose to attend local support groups – for example, Narcotics Anonymous. Secondary treatment is a great way of staying drug-free.
At Help4Addiction, we can locate the right secondary treatment for you to help you live a drug-free life, whether it be for prescription drug addiction, alcohol addiction, nicotine addiction, or illicit drug addiction.
Finding The Right Prescription Drug Rehab For You
We understand that it can be difficult taking that first step into rehab. This is why we work to find the right treatment plans and treatment centres for those with addiction.
It isn’t just prescription drug rehabilitation that we can help you find – we have connections with rehab clinics across England and Wales that can treat cocaine addiction, heroin addiction, cannabis addiction, nicotine addiction, alcohol addiction, and many more.
Contact our friendly and dedicated team today to discuss your treatment options. Whether you’re looking for an inpatient rehab clinic, outpatient rehab clinic, NHS-operated rehab or private rehab, we can find the right rehab for you and your circumstances.
Get the ball rolling today and contact us to start the admissions process and begin your addiction recovery journey.