An addiction to prescription drugs (drugs that are meant to help with illnesses and ailments) is a growing concern and can be just as dangerous as any other drug addiction. Symptoms of addiction to prescription drugs vary depending on the type of drug, but are generally characterized by changes in mood, such as severe mood swings and depression, physical body functions, such as sweating and high blood pressure, and behavioural changes, such as impassiveness and poor judgement.
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ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICTION
With incidences of prescription drug abuse rising, especially in adolescents, it becomes increasingly important for those taking prescription drugs to monitor their own behaviour. According to the National Health Service (NHS) UK statistics, around 62 million prescriptions for painkillers were written in 2012, which is a 30% increase over the last five years. Drug addiction to prescription medications is a growing concern for adults as well, and despite common belief, this kind of a drug addiction is not safer than one to illicit drugs. Commonly abused opioids include Oxycodone, Morphine, Methadone, Percocet, and Codeine. These types of drugs attach to opioid receptors in the brain, and are effective at diminishing the experience of pain. These drugs can also cause a feeling of euphoria and relaxation.
TREATMENT OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICTIONS
For the most severe prescription drug addictions, an inpatient program of 28 days is recommended, where the patient voluntarily enters a safe environment and undergoes an intensive drug therapy program. Outpatient programs are recommended as an alternative, whereby a group therapy component would be combined with a support group like Narcotics Anonymous. Therapy for opioid drug addictions often involves a component of detoxification for common withdrawal symptoms. Similar to research on treating a heroin addiction, an addiction to an opioid medication can be best treated with a combination of behaviour treatments and medications. In some instances, medication such as methadone is prescribed to relieve withdrawal and craving symptoms in the rehabilitating patient. Psychotherapy and counselling are common components to the treatment of stimulant drug addictions, including prescribed stimulants like Dexedrine and Adderall, which are commonly prescribed to treat symptoms of ADHD. Specialized, sauna-based therapy programs for treating the addiction to sedative abuse are also available, whereby the patient acquires a healthy regimen of sleep, exercise, and diet.
POST REHABILITATION FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICTIONS
Ongoing involvement in a group therapy program, such as Narcotics Anonymous, is strongly suggested for recovering drug addicts, as well as a more specialized therapy program with a counsellor or therapist. Involving one's self with only positive influences and people who foster the patient's recovery is also very important, as well as avoiding people and environments that encourage a drug relapse.
Self-awareness is critical in all major life changes, including recovering from a drug addiction, and activities such as journaling, reading, and partaking in healthy physical and group activities can be extremely helpful and rewarding to the patient
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