Prescription Drug Treatment Programs
Prescription drugs include a huge array of drugs that are addictive, ranging from opiates to sleeping pills and many others besides. Even drugs that were originally marketed as not being addictive have now been found to produce severe withdrawal symptoms, and it can be tough to escape. Prescription drug rehab programs ensure that you can break free from the drugs that have been controlling your life in a safe manner and give you the tools to remain clean.
What Are Prescription Drugs?
In short, a prescription drug is anything that has been prescribed by a doctor. Drugs like antibiotics are relatively harmless from an addiction perspective, as are many other chemicals such as anticancer drugs such as gemcitabine or carboplatin or nonopiate painkillers such as aspirin and acetaminophen. However, large classes of drugs are addictive due to their methods of action. While many of these drugs are intended for short-term use, sometimes they are used for too long, resulting in addiction.
Examples of Prescription Drugs
As stated, large classes of drugs are classified as addictive. These include opiates and opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, Z drugs (nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics), and antidepressants. All these drugs have a risk of tolerance and withdrawal when used over a long period of time—usually anything over a month, although tolerance can begin in as few as three days.
Opiates and Opioids
Opiates and opioids are essentially the same thing in normal language, and they include a massive range of highly effective painkillers. Opiates are anything that’s directly created from the milk of the opium poppy (such as morphine), and opioids are anything that acts like an opiate but isn’t available from the opium poppy (such as oxycodone and buprenorphine). These drugs act on opioid receptors in the brain, which essentially makes you high. The flood programs the brain to overemphasize the drug’s relevance to your life, making you addicted.
Prescription opiates and opioids include:
Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates
Barbiturates are rarely prescribed any more, but they are occasionally used as anticonvulsants—phenobarbital is one of the oldest anticonvulsants still used. They’re also readily used in veterinary medicine as they’re cheap. Benzodiazepines are much more common, and they include diazepam (Valium) and clonazepam. They’re typically used as sedatives or to treat anxiety, although they’re also used as muscle relaxants and to treat certain kinds of seizures. Typically, they should only be used on a short-term basis, as tolerance to their effects rapidly builds up. As the dosage grows, a paradoxical reaction may occur, which simply means that the opposite effect happens. If you’re taking them for anxiety, for example, using the drug may end up making you more anxious. These are among the more difficult drugs to break away from due to the nature of the conditions they’re used to treat, so prescription drug treatment programs are often used to help people in this situation.
This class of drug is primarily used as a hypnotic—sleep aids. While according to a 2012 study in the British Medical Journal, they’re only marginally more effective than placebo, their use is rising and may eventually outstrip the use of benzodiazepines for similar conditions. They’re called Z drugs because their names begin with Z: zolpidem, zopiclone, and zaleplon. Again, they cause addiction for similar reasons to benzodiazepines—they act on certain receptors and release chemicals that associate the drugs with reward.
Although they’re often marketed as being less addictive than benzodiazepines, they’re not much less addictive, and they’re often abused. They also have similar issues, although they’re generally better tolerated; however, their method of action is very similar, leading to similar issues.
Antidepressants include a massive range of drugs, some addictive, some not. However, many of the latest ones, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are surprisingly addictive and have severe withdrawal symptoms, up to and including suicidal thoughts.
Like heroin in the early 20th century, many SSRIs have been sold with the idea that they’re not addictive, unlike most antianxiety medications. They’re not in the traditional sense with altered motivational heirachies (i.e., you’d mortgage your house just to get another hit), but “SSRI discontinuation syndrome” has the same effects as most withdrawals. Consequently, a recent Danish metaanalysis has stated that SSRIs do cause withdrawal and therefore meet the standard for addiction, although this has statement been met with heavy criticism from a number of quarters. Regardless of whether they’re addictive or not, most doctors recognize that it’s hard to quit SSRIs, so many patients need a helping hand from a prescription drug rehab program.
How Can I Get Help?
Regardless of the drug you’re currently on, prescription drug programs can help you get off the drugs and recover. Prescription drugs usually have specific and highly predictable side effects and withdrawal, so they’re relatively easy to treat, compared to street drugs. They usually consist of a detoxing stage, a recovery stage, and a counseling stage, and these stages may overlap. Then, once you’ve recovered, you’re usually released.
These prescription drug programs usually are adjusted to each person to provide a personalized recovery program. This makes it easier to deal with the specific issues each person has, and it also takes into account the drugs or the mix of drugs each person has been taking. In addition, patients usually have reasons for taking these prescription medications, such as for pain or for anxiety. Stopping these medications can be difficult on your own, whereas a specialized prescription drug rehab center can suggest alternative medications that may not affect you in the same way.
Once you’ve decided to make the phone call or to ask for help, we can give you the assistance you need. Prescription drug addicts are not hopeless cases, and many can be aided with the right program of treatment.
Let’s verify your coverage for treatment at an American Addiction Centers location. Your information is always confidential.
If a you or a loved one needs help, you need to pick up the phone and call us before it is too late. We are standing by 24/7 at 1-888-851-2649 Who Answers? to help you.