Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drug addiction is, to put it bluntly, a deadly foe. Drug use and abuse impact the lives of millions of Americans, and only professional drug treatment and drug rehab can help addicts meet their long-term sobriety goals. If you or someone you love has succumbed to substance abuse, you need help today.
Prescription drug addiction is especially insidious because it tends to sneak up on those that it afflicts: Prescription drug abusers generally don’t know they’re becoming prescription drug abusers until it’s already too late. By the time evidence of the problem becomes readily apparent, prescription drug addiction has often laid claim to another victim.
Even more importantly, no one is immune to prescription drug addiction. Drug dependency is an equal opportunity disease: It affects everyone, regardless of race or class or age or anything else.
Living in a nice neighborhood won’t protect you from prescription drug abuse. Neither will driving a fancy car or sporting a big bank account. Drug abuse can happen to anyone, and he who denies prescription drug addiction is bound for a most unfortunate collision with the truth.
The good news is that prescription drug addiction, for all the pain and suffering associated with it, doesn’t have to be the end of the story: Substance abuse recovery is a real thing for millions of Americans, and it can be real for you too.
The key to successful drug rehab lies in self-education, and in the patient’s willingness to see the drug treatment process through to its conclusion. To beat prescription drug addiction, you’ve got to see it for what it actually is, and you’ve got to resolve to help others help you get better.
Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction
Again, the first rule of drug recovery: You can’t beat drug abuse unless you understand it. Drug addiction is the product of an underlying disease, and the symptoms of drug abuse are hard to miss. Knowing exactly what you’re up against is a key to the ultimate success of your drug treatment center experience.
In 2004, the United States Department of Health and Human Services found that more than twelve million Americans demonstrated signs of unhealthy substance abuse. That is, to say the least, a most troubling figure: a number that represents almost five percent of the total American population.
Studies have also indicated that as many as three million Americans use prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes in any given year. Such prescription drug addiction is unsettling for two reasons: Its connection to teenage drug abuse and the risk it carries of overdose and death.
The number of youths between the ages of twelve and seventeen who reported prescription drug abuse suggests that the fight against the disease is one that will shape the very future of our national society. More to the point, it is in many ways a fight against death itself: Prescription drug addiction accounts for a disproportionate percentage of annual drug-related emergency room visits in the United States, and chronic prescription drug abuse leaves addicts particularly predisposed to the risk of overdose and death.
Clearly, then, prescription drug addiction should occupy a prominent niche in our national consciousness. It’s a problem that needs fixing, and a problem that won’t fix itself; prescription drug addiction isn’t going anywhere, you might say, unless we collectively resolve to do something about it.
The question, of course, is a deceptively simple one: How do we beat it?
If you or someone you care about is a prescription drug addict, the answer might just be the most important one you’ll ever hear.
Painkiller Addiction and Drug Dependency
The chemical nature of painkiller addiction makes it particularly tough to beat. Prescription painkillers like morphine, codeine, and oxycodone are linked to the same kind of drug dependency that underlies heroin abuse. Getting better means getting help at a qualified drug rehab center.
Prescription painkillers like morphine, codeine, and oxycodone belong to a class of drugs called opioids. When taken in proper doses, opioids can be extremely effective in alleviating chronic pain conditions. Unfortunately, large doses of opioids trigger euphoric highs by activating pleasure pathways in the human brain, thus predisposing prescription drug abusers to repetitive cycles of use and abuse.
The threat of prescription drug addiction is compounded by the low that follows the high: Overingestion of drugs like morphine, codeine, and oxycodone is followed by a period of restless anxiety, which gives prescription drug abusers strong incentive to use again. Even more troubling, chronic prescription drug addiction is known to warp the body’s endogenous opioid system, leaving users incapable of experiencing pleasure without the aid of artificial chemical stimulation. The side effects of long-term prescription drug dependency speak for themselves: chronic anxiety, appetite suppression, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory dysfunction, and fetal complications in pregnant women.
Drug Treatment and Drug Rehab Programs
Like all forms of drug treatment, prescription drug addiction recovery plans must address both the physical and psychological roots of the disease. Through drug detox and addiction counseling, prescription drug rehab programs treat addiction in its entirety, and aim to help patients make a successful return to independent sober living.
The physical dimension of prescription drug addiction speaks to the extent to which prescription drug abuse warps the body’s internal chemistry. Chronic prescription drug addicts, as noted above, ultimately lose the ability to maintain normal metabolic function without an infusion of prescription drug chemicals. Such a state of drug abuse creates conditions under which addicts literally need drug use and abuse in order to survive, and makes the first stages of drug recovery particularly difficult.
Thankfully, professional drug detoxification programs can help recovery patients navigate the withdrawal process with as little discomfort as possible. Using advanced medical therapies, doctors and caregivers at drug detox facilities ensure that an addict’s system is entirely cleansed of drugs and drug byproducts, thus providing a firm foundation for the remainder of his drug rehab experience.
But remember: Drug detox is merely a prelude to the intensive addiction counseling that follows it. Prescription drug addiction is also, after all, a psychological disease: a product of cognitive and emotional conditions under which an addict is incapable of facing the world or himself without first getting high. Only expert therapy programs can help recovery patients break those bonds, and regain the sort of self-esteem and self-control that are vital to long-term sobriety.
We should note here that addiction recovery is never easy. Drug rehab is a struggle, and drug treatment will test the will of even the hardiest soul. Keep in mind, though, that drug treatment centers are ultimately places of hope, of optimism: A successful drug treatment center plays host to patients who are forever working to make the future a little bet better; patients who are struggling yes, but patients for whom the struggle is an eminently worthwhile thing.