Modern medicine is an incredible field that helps people in ways that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. However, some of these treatments can also have negative drawbacks. One potential issue that can arise from medical treatment is an addiction to prescription drugs.
If you or your loved one have found that you are taking more and more of your medication and are unable to stop, it is time to get help for this serious issue.
Prescription drug addiction treatment is available in Colorado at Denver Recovery Center. Our evidence-based and holistic treatments can help you get your life back. You don’t need to suffer any longer; reach out now to start the healing process today.
Select any of the following headings to move directly to the corresponding section:
- How does this addiction start?
- Which prescription drugs are addictive?
- What are the signs of addiction?
- How can rehab help?
- Is treatment available in Colorado?
- Start your recovery today.
How does prescription drug addiction start?
For many people, prescription drug addiction starts very differently than it does with other types of substances such as alcohol, cocaine, or meth. Illegal substances such as street drugs are commonly known to be addictive and dangerous. Medications, however, are given legally by a doctor. Most people expect them to be perfectly safe. In most cases, this is true. However, some prescription drugs can become addictive, especially when not used exactly as directed.
For example, opioids may be prescribed to you after surgery to help with the associated pain. At first, you might take the pills as directed. After a few weeks, you may start to notice that you are taking the pills slightly more often than you should, or adding an extra dose here and there. Eventually, this can develop into a full-blown addiction, escalating to taking many more pills than prescribed every day. You may even find yourself visiting more doctors and pharmacies in an attempt to get more of the medication.
This happens because the pills act on the brain’s pleasure center. When this reward center is activated, the brain encourages you to continue engaging in the enjoyable activity of taking the medication. Eventually, your brain may essentially rewire itself and become reliant on the medication to feel any pleasure at all.
If you realize that you are exhibiting signs of addiction to one of these powerful drugs, you shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to get help. This is a common problem that affects thousands of families each year. Getting help sooner, instead of later, is your best chance for recovery.
Which prescription drugs are addictive?
The Food and Drug Administration has approved nearly 1500 drugs to date. Many of these medications are very safe; however, some of the prescription drugs available today can become addictive. This is more likely to happen when the drugs are not used as directed.
The most addictive types of medications include stimulants, anti-anxiety pills, sleep aids, and painkillers like opioids.
Stimulants are drugs that increase alertness. These are often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD. These drugs allow people with ADHD to focus and stay in control. Stimulants, like Adderall or Ritalin, are typically safe when used as directed by a doctor. However, they can become problematic when taken too frequently or in too high of a dose. If you are prescribed a stimulant to treat a medical condition, you should be vigilant about taking it exactly as directed by your doctor.
Drugs in this category include:
- Adderall (Amphetamine)
- Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine)
- Ritalin, Concerta (Methylphenidate)
Another type of prescription medication that people may develop an addiction to is anti-anxiety medication. These medicines are typically used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan can make the user feel very relaxed. However, they can have serious health risks when used long-term.
Anti-anxiety medications include:
- Valium (Diazepam)
- Xanax (Alprazolam)
- Klonopin (Clonazepam)
- Ativan (Lorzaepam)
- Serax (Oxazepam)
- Tranxene (Clorazepate)
Sleep medications may be prescribed to people who have insomnia, issues with falling asleep or staying asleep, or people who work night shifts. Most sleeping pills can be habit-forming, but several newer medications are less likely to cause dependence. Typically, sleep medications should only be used short-term and exactly as directed by a doctor. People who are currently taking sleeping pills should not consume alcohol to avoid potentially serious health risks.
Sleep medications include the following:
- Ambien (Zolpidem)
- Belsomra (Suvorexant)
- Lunesta (Eszopiclone)
- Restoril (temazepam)
- Sonesta (Zaleplon)
Prescription painkillers, such as opioids, are typically prescribed for severe pain such as after a medical or dental procedure or during recovery from an accident. These are very effective for treating pain, but unfortunately, they can also be addictive.
Opioids addiction is a serious problem facing many Americans today. Tens of thousands of people die each year from overdose. Additionally, when addiction becomes very severe, people often switch to using heroin if they are unable to get a large enough supply of prescription opioids. This can quickly lead to an overdose death. If you or someone you love displays any signs of opioid addiction, get help today before it becomes too late.
Drugs in this category include:
- Vicodin, Lortab, Norco (Hydrocodone & Paracetamol)
- Oxycontin, Percocet (Oxycodone)
- Opana (Oxymorphone)
- Roxanol (Morphine)
- Methadose (Methadone)
- Fentanyl (Actiq)
- Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)
What are the signs of prescription drug addiction?
Every person is different, and no two people display exactly the same signs of substance abuse. However, some common signs of addiction show up in many cases. When possible, you should get help as soon as you begin to see any of the following signs. However, help is available no matter how far into the cycle of addiction you or your loved one may be.
Here are the signs of prescription drug addiction that you may notice in yourself or a loved one:
- Taking the medication without a prescription
- Needing an increased dosage
- Taking the medication more frequently than prescribed
- Running out of medication too soon
- Contacting multiple doctors or pharmacies to obtain more of the drug
- Sudden unexplained financial difficulties
- Weight gain or loss
- Secretive behavior
There are also more specific signs of addiction for each type of prescription pill.
Signs of Stimulant Addiction
- Excessive energy
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
- Rapid heartbeat
Signs of Anti-Anxiety Medication Addiction
- Poor memory
Signs of Opioid Addiction
- Feelings of euphoria
How can rehab help?
Today, treatment centers for prescription drug addiction offer many different types of therapy. At Denver Recovery Center, we offer a wide range of treatments. Each client who comes to us is different, and no two paths to recovery are quite the same. We will work with you or your loved one to find the therapies that work best for you.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the more common treatment methods for substance abuse. During this type of treatment, you will meet with a trained counselor about once a week. At first, the counselor will get to know you and your background, strengths, struggles, and goals. Talking about such personal topics can feel intimidating, but soon, you and your therapist can develop a therapeutic relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Together, you and the counselor can explore what types of thoughts and actions you tend to have that may contribute to addiction. For instance, if you tend to take too many anti-anxiety pills every time you have a fight with your spouse, your therapist may help you identify that pattern. You can then practice alternative coping methods such as meditation or exercise that will help you handle stress without the need for prescription medications.
EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is a type of therapy that was developed to treat people who have had traumatic experiences that continue to affect their lives. Incidents such as abuse and car accidents can often cause people to become “stuck” in that event. The brain is unable to move on without a little bit of help. EMDR helps people process the traumatic event, which allows the mind to heal itself. Trauma and drug addiction often co-occur because people use substances such as prescription drugs to cope with traumatic experiences and memories.
Dual diagnosis treatment is crucial for anyone who is struggling with both a mental illness and substance abuse at the same time. This type of treatment addresses both issues at once. Many people self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in an attempt to lessen the effects of mental illness. However, this often leads to more issues, including addiction. Treating depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or PTSD along with addiction allows people a better chance at a full recovery.
Many rehab centers incorporate group therapy into their treatment programs. During this type of therapy, you may meet with people who have similar struggles or backgrounds. You may discuss topics that the group facilitator chooses, or just talk about what is currently going on in each person’s life. This type of therapy can be especially useful because it allows you to develop a support system of like-minded peers who are going through the same issues that you are. Addiction and recovery can be lonely, so having people who care about you and understand what you are going through can be very encouraging.
Holistic therapy treats a client’s mind, body, and soul. Holistic treatments allow you to mend the connection between the mind and body, which can often be destroyed while people are in the depths of addiction. Exercise, nutrition, hobbies, life skills, and other activities are typically the last concerns for people who are abusing prescription drugs; reconnecting with your body and getting it healthy again is an important part of recovery. Some holistic therapies include the following:
Yoga, Tai Chi, fitness, and other forms of exercise are common holistic therapies that are used during rehabilitation for prescription medication abuse. These activities allow an opportunity to reconnect with your physical body and experience new pursuits that may even become hobbies or healthy coping methods that persist long after you complete the rehab program.
Experiential therapy includes many different types of activities that can help you process your emotions and experiences. During experiential therapy, you will participate in some type of experience with a trained counselor. They may interact with or observe the activity and then discuss it with you. Some examples include art therapy, role-playing, and hiking.
Life skills, nutrition, and other types of training can also help with your recovery. In these classes, you may learn how to be more assertive, negotiate successfully, find a job, pay bills, and other skills that will help you navigate your new sober life.
Is prescription drug addiction treatment available in Colorado?
The beautiful mountain scenery makes Colorado an excellent place to rediscover yourself and your potential through the process of recovery. Denver Recovery Center in Broomfield, Colorado, is a luxury rehab facility that offers many effective treatments for prescription drug abuse and other types of addictions. Take a virtual tour of our incredible center to see our amenities for yourself.
Denver Recovery Center prides itself on the personalized treatment plans that are created for each and every client who walks through our doors. We don’t simply set everyone up with the same recovery process; instead, we work with you to determine which therapies are most likely to be effective. We consider your interests, goals, background, strengths when planning your recovery process, and we continuously evaluate your treatment.
Contact us today to start your recovery.
Prescription drug addiction is a serious, progressive disease. Many people die from abusing prescription medications every year. If you are caught up in this terrible cycle, don’t wait any longer to get help. Reach out now and get your life back.
Denver Recovery Center is here to help. Call us today or contact us online now to learn more about how a customized treatment plan can help you recover.