Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction in San Diego
Why Do People Abuse Prescriptions?
Nobody starts out using an addictive prescription drug believing that they’ll turn into an addict. At first, a person may abuse these drugs trying to get more relief or a little bit of a “euphoric” feeling. Some people may abuse these drugs because it helps alleviate emotional pain as well as physical pain.
Unfortunately, many prescription drugs that are addictive cause a person to build a tolerance quickly, meaning they need more of the same drug to get the “high” they’re seeking.
Some people may mix addictive drugs (such a painkiller with an anti-anxiety drug or alcohol with either) hoping to enhance the effects of both drugs. This can be dangerous and put the drug user at risk for an overdose.
Getting Help for Prescription Drug Abuse & Addiction
People take prescription drugs for health problems or illnesses at some point in their life. Most of us have taken an antibiotic or painkiller when we were ill or injured.
Usually, people take the prescription as the doctor directs them, but some people don’t. Some people may like the way they feel when they take a little bit more than needed, and begin to abuse their prescriptions. There are some drugs that alter the mental state of their users, such as anti-anxiety drug or opiate pain drugs that can become addictive when abused. A certain percentage of the population is vulnerable to these types of addiction. Once addicted, the drug user finds it’s hard to keep up with the amount of drugs they want and finding a legal way to obtain them.
This can often lead to drug-seeking behavior and a long cycle of trying to quit using and relapse.
How Do People Who Abuse Prescription Drugs Act?
There are many prescription drugs that can be abused, and the way a person acts will depend on their individual chemistry as well as the drug they are using. Typically abused prescription drugs include those in the opiate/opioid class (such as Codeine or Oxycodone), tranquilizers (such as Klonopin or Valium) and stimulants (such as Ritalin).
Here are a few ways that certain prescription drugs can make their users act:
- Stimulants: Users may seem shaky and “hyper”, not needing to sleep or unable to sleep, talking rapidly. When taking large amounts of a drug, users may seem paranoid.
- Opioids/opiates: Users may seem sleepy and express euphoria. May be unable to stay on topic or carry on a conversation; may “nod out” (i.e. pass out) in the middle of conversation or doing something else. Breathing will be slow and shallow.
- Tranquilizers/sedatives: Users may seem sleepy or “slow” to respond to others. May be incoherent or groggy while on the drug and not motivated to do much else. May have a disheveled appearance or appear pale.
Drug users who are addicted will also be agitated/upset when they’re not able to get away and sue the drug or can’t secure a supply of it.
Many people who abuse prescription drugs on a daily basis will experience uncomfortable physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms when they can’t get a hold of their drug of choice.
When Does Prescription Drug Abuse Become Addiction?
Addiction is a disease that affects the body, mind and spirit. It is considered a behavioral disorder, similar to mental health disorders. While it’s not curable, it is treatable.
Addiction doesn’t develop overnight, but once a person has become addicted, they will exhibit certain symptoms and behavior patterns. One of the first signs of addiction is drug-seeking behavior. That means that a person will start to do whatever it takes to acquire their drug of choice.
People who are addicted to prescriptions will try to get more of their pills, sometimes even resorting to illegal methods. They may first try “doctor shopping” – using multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions, or even forging their own prescriptions if this doesn’t work. Sometimes people will go through family members’ medicine cabinets and steal drugs.
People who are addicted to pills will often cut them in half or hoard them to prevent running out of them. If they can’t get a supply through the means above, they may try to purchase them from people on the street or websites on the Internet.
Some people who have become addicted to prescription opioids have turned to heroin when their prescription supply is cut off. This makes them more susceptible to overdose, because street drugs are much stronger than prescriptions.
Effects of Prescription Drug Addiction
When a person is addicted to drugs, it seems like there is an avalanche of other problems in their life. Addiction often occupies more and more of the drug users’ time, causing them to neglect other important responsibilities.
Here are a few things that a person who is addicted may be struggling with:
- Relationship Problems: Addiction is a disease that affects not only the addicted person, but their family, as well. A person who is addicted to drugs, and often high, will not be their “normal self”. They may treat people coldly, ignore important events, or be uncaring about others’ feelings. They may neglect family duties completely as their addiction takes over more of their life.
- Legal Problems: A person may be in trouble financially and have debt collectors or creditors calling or threatening them. They also may break the law and end up arrested, facing the threat of jail.
- Health Problems: Addiction takes a toll both on the body and the mind. Because of this there are many health problems to be aware of, especially when there is a risk of overdose or long-term organ damage. Every pill a person takes has side effects, and these can be magnified with long-term abuse.
- Behavior Issues: A person who is addicted to drugs doesn’t exercise their best judgment. They may take more risks than usual or act aloof, angry, or uncaring, as their prescription use becomes more of a problem. They will display drug-seeking behavior, which can involve deception or manipulation to get what they want.
- Withdrawal Symptoms: A person with a substance use disorder may experience painful or uncomfortable physical or emotional withdrawal symptoms, from tremors to fevers, hallucinations or seizures. It depends on the individual, the drugs they have been using, and how much/long they have used them.
These are all symptoms of prescription drug use, but can be symptoms of other addictions or mental health issues as well. If you or a loved one exhibits these symptoms, help is available and a treatment center can help you plan a way out of addiction and into recovery.
Prescription Drug Addiction, Detox and Recovery
No matter what drug you have a problem with, help is available and getting clean is possible. We’ve helped many people with substance use disorders reclaim their lives and chart a path to recovery.
Treatment for prescription drug addiction can be very effective, as long as you’ve chosen a provider that understands the nature of your problem and is willing to work with you to create a treatment plan for success.
Detoxing from your drug of choice is the first step of getting help for your addiction. This is done in a safe, therapeutic environment where you can be as comfortable as possible.
Some people who use prescription drugs also come to us with a dual diagnosis. This means that they also have an underlying mental health disorder that they may have been using drugs to self-medicate with. We have experience with helping people with these issues learn to cope with their symptoms as they learn to live a drug-free life. All of our clients are assessed for mental health issues as a part of their admissions.
Everyone who walks through our doors is treated as an individual, and made to feel as safe and supported as possible as they begin therapy and learn new coping skills for the future. For people addicted to opioids/opiates, our experience has led us to create a combination of both therapeutic methods and medication-assisted treatment, which can help quell some withdrawal symptoms and decrease the desire to use. A combination of one-on-one therapy, groups, and 12-step meetings will help provide the structure to help all of our clients on their journey to healing and growth.
Contact Present Moments for Help Today
Do you or somebody you love have an addiction to prescription or other drugs? We want to help you take your first steps and find a safe, therapeutic environment to get clean and sober. Our line is staffed by caring intake coordinators and we are available to assist you at any time. Call us today at (619) 363-4767.