Substance abuse and drug addiction are real issues affecting millions of people across America. The most abused substances include alcohol, marijuana, hashish, crystal meth, ecstasy, cocaine and LSD. The list also includes prescription drugs, stimulants and steroids, which are often abused by athletes and bodybuilders. Prescription drugs are ordinarily prescribed by primary care physicians to manage pain. According to a study conducted by Pew Research, concerns about prescription drug abuse have risen steadily over the last 4 years, and cuts across all demographics, including well-educated persons. A survey conducted in 2017 showed a staggering 76% of people see prescription drug abuse as big issue compared to 63% in 2013.
Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health problem and ranks in nearly the same level as mental illness, obesity, alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking. To put matters into perspective, the US is home to less than 5% of global population, but account for up to 30% of all deaths caused by prescription drugs overdose. In my tacit assessment, prescription drug addiction is caused by issues such as involuntary attachments and individual decision to respond to long held desires. My addiction to prescription medication did a lot to strain the good relationship I enjoyed with my wife, kids and close relatives. Just as most addicts, I developed an addiction to prescription drugs after taking legitimately prescribed drugs to treat an injury I suffered some time back. I was initially referred to a pain clinic, but was unable to follow through with the treatment as mandated.
In order to get back on track, I decided to buy monthly supplies of the prescription meds off the street. The turnaround that changed my life happened after watching a prescription drug addiction documentary on TV. After a series of deep reflections, I did some research on addiction and got in touch with addiction specialist referred by a friend. Besides the desire to change my life, I had a strong willpower to overcome the addiction problem one and for all. It is important to reiterate that drug addiction is a weakness and not a flaw in the addict’s character. The biggest challenge in overcoming drug addiction is actually recognizing that you have a problem. Most addicts initially begin by downplaying the problem, but this is often counterproductive or self-defeating at the end. According to Help Guide, treatment for prescription drug addiction involves a disclosure of the following:
- a) How you are dealing with the drug problem
b) List of people closest to you, including family and friends
c) The things you do during your free time
d) What you make out of your current state of affairs?
e) List of OTC and prescription drugs you have been taking
Before any intervention program is kick-started, the counselor should clearly explain the benefits of quitting the addiction. Drug rehabilitation centers offer various treatment regimens such as: detoxification program, behavioral counseling, use of medication and follow up program. The detoxification comes first in line and involves purging out the drugs from the body and managing the withdrawal symptoms. The behavioral counseling program is critical in moving to the next phase of treatment since it aims to break the addiction habit from its root. The program may require the input of family or group. A physician may prescribe medications to manage common addiction issues like prescription drug opioid withdrawal symptoms and relapse.
Medications can also help deal with anxiety, depression and other long term consequences of drug use. As part of the process to prevent relapse, the counselor will follow up on the matter to ensure the patient maintains sobriety at all times. The follow up program can be strengthened by co-opting interventions via group sittings. Depending on the doctor’s or counselor’s assessment, intervention and treatment can be exercised through residential treatment, sober living communities, outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization or day treatment. Under the residential treatment, the client normally lives in a treatment facility while undergoing treatment to overcome drug addiction. The entire program may take a few days to several months to complete.
Sober living communities are more restrictive, with patients undergoing intensive treatment to prevent relapse. A counselor may recommend partial hospitalization in situations where the client requires ongoing medical care or wishes to return home. The treatment can take up to 8 hours during the day before the client is allowed to go home. If you are working or going to school, the most ideal treatment would be in the outpatient program because this type of arrangement is usually crafted with the client’s schedule in mind. Once you are out of treatment, it is highly recommended that you find a support network to prevent relapse and ensure your well-being. The support may come from many quarters, from family, a close circle of friends, sober social networks and sober living facility.