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Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Centers

One of the most alarming drug abuse trends today is the misuse or abuse of prescription medications. Because of the general perception that medications are inherently therapeutic – they are intended for their treatment benefits – they pose no danger of abuse or addiction. While many medications are considered safe simply because their potential side effects are not necessarily serious or life-threatening, some, however, can act on the brain and elicit almost the same kind of reaction as illicit substances.

The Trend

drug rehabIn the US, the number of deaths attributed to prescription drug overdose was much higher compared to the number of deaths related to street drug overdose including cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and crystal meth combined, 45 percent against 39 percent, respectively. Deaths attributed to prescription opioid painkillers alone have been reported to stand at 17,000 in 2012. Also in the same year, there were almost 5 million emergency room visits that involved prescription drugs – 50 percent of which were related to adverse reactions while 45 percent were related to drug abuse. Almost half a million individuals aged at least 12 years were reported to have used prescription opioid analgesics for nonmedical purposes in the previous year, posting an average daily use of about 1,400 individuals. In fact, it is estimated that more than 54 million people in the US aged at least 12 years old have used prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes in their lifetime.

The Problem

Like other psychoactive drugs, prescription medications that have very high addictive potential can change or alter the chemistry of the brain. What makes prescription drug abuse so prevalent is the fact that they are readily available. In fact, a recent study by NIDA suggests that more than 55 percent of all individuals who have abused prescription medications obtained the drugs free, primarily from family members or friends who have family members with a legitimate and valid reason for taking the drugs. While the issue is not necessarily in the excessive use of the drug itself, experts believe that the main problem is more related to drug misuse or drug tampering. For example, a hydrocodone tablet or pill for pain normally would not exert any psychotropic effects if it was consumed in its recommended route of administration. However, many individuals crush the pill or tablet then either mixed in a diluent before injection or snorted in powdered form. These methods deliver the medication to the bloodstream in a much faster rate, leading to the development of the effects also at a much faster rate.

The Manifestations

The clinical manifestations of abused prescription drugs are largely dependent on the type of the drug. Drugs that depress the central nervous system such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sedative-hypnotics or tranquilizers can be expected to produce excessively slow heart rate leading to compromised tissue oxygenation. This can lead to heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, seizure disorders, and even coma. These medications are often used in people with anxiety disorders as well as sleep disorders.

Medications that are used for obesity and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, such as amphetamines and methylphenidate, are considered as central nervous system stimulant drugs. As such, these have the same effects as methylamphetamines, an overdose of which can lead to increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, restlessness, agitation, and excessive increases in metabolism. With compromised tissue oxygenation, the individual can go into a heart attack or even into stroke.

Prescription opioid analgesics act more like heroin. In fact, studies now show that many teenagers who start their drug addictions with prescription opioid analgesics eventually end up getting addicted to heroin in adult life. These medications are one of the deadliest when it comes to overdose effects.

The Treatment

detoxTreating prescription drug addiction always starts with detoxification. This is necessary in order to help facilitate the individual’s more successful transition into the treatment phase. Detoxification is always a lot better if implemented under medical supervision simply because of the dangerous nature of the effects of these drugs. Medication protocols can be administered and augmented by nutritional and psychosocial support. Once detox has been completed, the individual can enter treatment and rehabilitation where the major focus of therapy is in assisting the individual to realize and come to terms with their addiction. They will be assisted to identify maladaptive thoughts as well as patterns of behavior. This can be done through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy carried out in individual and group counseling sessions. Complementary therapies particularly experiential therapies can also be implemented according to the individual’s needs.

Sprout Health Group understands that education plays a major role in helping individuals realize that prescription drugs, when used improperly, can lead to abuse and addiction. It is necessary, nevertheless, to communicate that hope is not lost as Sprout Health Group can provide the correct treatment and rehabilitation program designed specifically for the individual’s condition. This is our way of helping individuals lead a life that is free from prescription drug addiction.

Treating prescription drug addiction always starts with detoxification. This is necessary in order to help facilitate the individual’s more successful transition into the treatment phase


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