Addiction is a word that many people view in a poor light. Those who are affected by this illness of the brain are often discriminated against and judged as being weak or bad. The truth is often completely the opposite as there is a growing number of people in the UK struggling with drug addictions despite never having touched an illegal drug in their life. Many of these individuals do not even drink more than the recommended weekly alcohol allowance, yet they struggle with a drug addiction all the same. This is because they have become physically dependent on medication prescribed by a doctor to treat an illness. If this is familiar to you then you might be wondering how to overcome a prescription drug addiction.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Coming to terms with a diagnosis of an addict is never going to be easy, and it is especially tough for anyone who has developed an addiction to prescription medication. After all, most people assume that medication prescribed by a doctor must be safe. For many, there is no question that it could be dangerous or addictive, and they often underestimate the risks.
The reality is that prescription medication is available only through a medical professional for a very good reason. These medications can be helpful in treating conditions such as chronic pain that does not respond to over-the-counter drugs, but they do carry risks – one of which being that they are highly addictive. They can also be extremely dangerous when abused; the problem is that most people do not even realise what abuse of such medication is.
For example, did you know that taking more of your medication than advised to by your doctor is classed as abuse? Most individuals do not realise that this is the case. Nor do they understand that taking medication that was prescribed for another person is classed as abuse also. But it is something that is done regularly in this country.
If you have been prescribed medication for a backache, for example, you might offer the same medication to a friend or family member who is also suffering from a backache or any other type of severe pain. But doing this can be extremely dangerous as such medication is initially prescribed based on a variety of factors as determined by the prescribing physician.
Doctors have a lot to think about before prescribing medication to a patient. He or she must consider the age and weight of the person, whether this patient has any allergies or underlying medical conditions, and if he or she is taking other medications that could interact with the new medication. It is not simply a case of everyone being suited to the same medication.
Why Does Prescription Drug Addiction Develop?
Not everyone who takes prescription medication will develop an addiction to it. Conversely, addiction can occur even in those who have not abused their medication. The truth is that it is just not possible to tell who will or who will not become addicted to prescription drugs.
What we do know, however, is that those who do develop such an illness tend to initially grow an increased tolerance to the drugs. This means that their body quickly becomes used to the medication and adapts so that the person taking it is not getting as much relief as he or she once did. He or she might then decide that more of the drug is needed to achieve the desired feelings. But doing this can lead the body to adapt further and to become physically dependent on it. If this happens, the affected individual will start to crave the medication and might experience withdrawal symptoms when the effects wear off.
Do You Have an Addiction to Prescription Medication?
It may be difficult for you to admit that your use of prescription medication is out of your control, but if you feel as though you cannot function without your medication, and if your use of it is interfering with everyday life, you could have a problem that requires professional help to resolve.
If you are taking your prescription medication to change the way you feel, and/or you are spending less and less time with those you love or doing the things you enjoy, it is possible that you are now addicted to the medication. If this is the case then it is important that you can accept this with a view to getting the help that you need to get better.
If you know that you have a problem, you might already be wondering how to overcome a prescription drug addiction. The good news is that help is available.
How to Beat a Prescription Drug Addiction?
Even if you know that your use of prescription medication is no longer under your control, you might be tempted to do nothing and just hope for the best. You could believe that once you stop taking the medication things will go back to normal. Unfortunately, addiction does not work this way.
If you have never tried to quit your medication, you will probably be surprised to find that this is not as easy as it sounds. If you are physically addicted to your pills, it could end up being difficult to break free. When you do stop taking them, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms, which may cause you to return to the medication for relief from these symptoms.
Nevertheless, you need to know that to overcome a prescription drug addiction you will have to be prepared to quit the medication. The only way to fully overcome the illness is with complete abstinence. To help you do this in the safest and most comfortable way, you should consider a drug detox in a dedicated detox facility.
Detox is the body’s way of getting rid of any chemicals and toxins that have accumulated as a result of your drug use. When your body realises that the usual supply of drugs is not coming, it will start the healing process by eliminating any toxins that remain. As it tries to get back to normal by overcompensating for the withdrawal of the chemicals it has been used to for so long, a range of symptoms will occur.
You may experience one or two symptoms, or you might experience a wide range; it is impossible to know beforehand. It is also impossible to tell how severe the symptoms will be, which is why detoxing in a supervised, dedicated facility is a probably a wise decision.
What Happens After Detox?
There is more to think about when considering how to overcome a prescription drug addiction than just a detox. Detoxification is just the first part of the process. You must also think about rehabilitation, which is a programme designed to help you beat the addiction from a psychological standpoint.
During rehab, you will learn more about why you initially became addicted as well as learning how to move forward to a substance-free life with the tools required to prevent a return to addictive behaviour.
Rehab programmes are available via the NHS, charity organisations, and private clinics. You will have the choice of recovering in an inpatient facility or in a daycare setting that will allow you to continue with daily life while you get treatment.
If your addiction is not severe, an outpatient programme may be sufficient. Nonetheless, if you are in danger of being unable to avoid temptation while recovering in the outside world, you should definitely consider an inpatient programme, where you will be away from all temptations and distractions.
Moving on from Treatment
Anyone who has had treatment for addiction and is now living a sober life will need to be constantly vigilant to the threat of relapse. Addiction is not a curable illness; it can be treated and managed only. To ensure permanent sobriety and a long and fulfilling life, you must be careful not to become complacent.
You should be aware that addiction is going to be a problem for you for the rest of your life. Addiction is in the person and not the substance, so any mood-altering substance is going to be dangerous for you. Therefore, you must learn how to live a substance-free life, which will form a large part of your rehab programme.
There is also plenty of support available within your local community by way of fellowship support groups. Joining these groups will help you maintain your sobriety. You can meet regularly with others in a similar position to yourself and who will hopefully motivate and inspire you to stay sober. Getting involved with your local recovery community will give you plenty of support and will open a world of opportunities for you.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to overcome a prescription drug addiction once and for all, please get in touch with us here at Middlegate. We have a team of friendly advisors who will take your call and answer any queries you might have.
If you are unsure of whether you have an addiction to prescription medication or not, we can provide an assessment that will give you a greater understanding of exactly what you are dealing with as well as the type of treatment programme that is best suited for you and your requirements. Please call today and let us help you start on the road to recovery.