While all drug addictions can be particularly difficult to identify and address, prescription medication addiction has it’s own unique difficulties as the user can assure themselves that because the drugs they are taking were prescribed, and therefore legal, they can separate themselves from ‘other drug addicts’ who buy their drugs illegally from street dealers.
Regardless of the legality of the substance, addiction is dependent on the relationship the person has with the substance above anything else. For example, a pack of cards can mean something completely different to a person with a gambling addiction to a person who doesn’t, even though a pack of cards is perfectly legal. Beachcomber works with patients from all over Florida and the US to change a person’s relationship with a prescription drug so that they can move forward to a happier and healthier life.
Furthermore, when a person is prescribed pain medication, such as Oxycontin, following a minor operation; their doctor will only prescribe the medication for a certain length of time. After this time, the person may have developed an addiction to Oxycontin, and so now be left with no choice but to either forge prescriptions or buy from street dealers, both of which are illegal.
What is prescription medication addiction?
Prescription drug addictions usually fall into one of three categories of drugs:
- Opioids such as oxycodone drugs, codeine, tramadol, and hydrocodone
- Tranqualizers or sedatives like benzodiazepines, Valium, Xanax, and Ambien
- Stimulants including Ritalin, Adderall and Dexedrine
An addiction to prescription medication typically occurs after the cause of the prescription, such as a minor operation or injury, is cured or healed, but the user still craves the drugs in order to feel relaxed, happy or without pain. For those who are prescribed medication to treat chronic illnesses or conditions, it can be even harder to recognize when a need to treat their condition becomes an addiction to the prescription.
A person addicted to prescription medication may take the medication for reasons beyond the prescription; such as to lose weight, become more attentive on studies or work, or achieve more in a shorter space of time. A person may feign the symptoms of certain conditions, such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in order to obtain drugs like Adderall or Ritalin from medical professionals. A person addicted to prescription medication will be unable to perform daily tasks without the drug and will experience uncomfortable and distressing withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to cut down or stop taking it.
Signs and Symptoms of prescription medication addiction
While prescription medication addiction can be difficult to address for the user and their loved ones, due to the façade that it is prescribed and therefore harmless; signs of addiction are similar to addictions to other drugs, for example:
- A change in the user’s personality; becoming more withdrawn, defensive, secretive or volatile
- A lack of interest in things that were previously important
- Avoiding friends and family, choosing instead to spend time alone or with new people who use drugs
- A change in appearance; a sudden weight loss or gain or abandoning self-care, wearing dirty clothes, not washing hair or showering
- Rapid or slurred speech, difficulty in following what the user is saying, perhaps jumping from topic to topic without any clear links
- Periods of depression and anxiety which are unexplained, unexpected and unmanageable
Treatment options for prescription medication addiction
It can be incredibly difficult for a person to admit that they have an addiction to prescription medication, firstly to themselves, and then to their friends, family and professionals. Add to that the uncertainty and fear that surrounds the process of getting help for addiction and it can seem unsurmountable. Although the idea may be terrifying at first, you can be assured that the professionals you will find at Beachcomber will treat you with respect, compassion and understanding.
It might be necessary for the addicted person to go through a detoxification process to remove all the drugs from their system before embarking on one to one and group treatment, along with a variety of other holistic therapies, scientifically proven to heal trauma, addiction and assist a person through the journey to recovery.
A full list of our services is:
- Inpatient Residential Treatment
- One-to-one Therapy
- Group therapy
- Family/couples therapy
- Rapid Resolution Therapy
- Outpatient Treatment
- Emotional Freedom Technique
- Acupuncture Therapy
- Yoga Therapy
- Meditation Therapy
- Light-Sound Neurotherapy