Prescription drugs can have important medical benefits, and most people take them safely and appropriately. Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible to become addicted to prescription drugs. If you or someone you love struggles with prescription drug addiction, take some time to learn more about this type of addiction and how individuals can overcome it.
Becoming Dependent on Prescription Drugs
One of the most dangerous myths in the healthcare world is that prescription drugs are harmless. While it’s absolutely true that many people take prescription drugs safely, these substances can still be harmful. Taking more than prescribed can cause health problems. Worse still, they can cause addiction.
Whether it’s a prescription opioid painkiller, stimulant, or a sedative, taking these powerful drugs comes with side effects. It’s also possible to develop a dependence. If you try to cut back or stop taking them, you might notice withdrawal symptoms.
For many people, these withdrawal symptoms are too unpleasant to deal with. As a result, many individuals go to extreme measures to continue taking these substances.
The longer you rely on prescription drugs, the more your tolerance can change. While you might be happy with taking one dose a day initially, your need might grow. Instead of needing one painkiller to feel comfortable, you start to need two in order to block out the pain. This can grow to three, four, or more in a very short period of time.
The Rise of Doctor Shopping
Once individuals develop a prescription drug addiction, they may resort to doctor shopping. This is when individuals visit more than one doctor or clinic at a time in order to get a prescription for their drug of choice.
Many doctors will prescribe medications for patients, but only for a short amount of time. This is generally the responsible course of action. If patients become dependent on that prescription drug, however, they might need to visit another doctor for a new prescription. Unfortunately, taking more than the recommended dose increases both the physical health risks and the risk of overdose.
It’s not unusual for people with a prescription drug addiction to visit multiple doctors and pain clinics in a month. Some individuals also buy medications online or illegally from in-person drug dealers. Doing this brings even greater risks because these substances aren’t monitored by any medical body or guaranteed to be safe.
Prescription Medications as a Gateway Drug
It’s important to realize that an addiction to prescription drugs is just as bad as any other addiction. However, having a painkiller addiction can also quickly turn to an addiction to other drugs like heroin.
More than half of all heroin users in the United States started out by using opioid prescription drugs. In so many ways, these two substances are remarkably similar. When individuals with a prescription drug addiction lose access to their pills, they may turn to cheaper or more readily available options. Often, that means turning to illegal street drugs like heroin.
Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction at Ashley Addiction
With the right help, resources, and support, you can overcome an addiction to prescription drugs. At Ashley Addiction Treatment in Maryland, incoming patients can receive a full continuum of care. That starts with an onsite detox and goes all the way to extended care programs.
The true path to recovery means addressing all aspects of addiction. At Ashley Addiction Treatment, that means physical, emotional, and mental support. Some of the many addiction treatment methods and strategies for sobriety that incoming patients can expect include:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Trauma therapy
- Group counseling
- Family therapy
- Relapse prevention techniques
- Holistic therapies like yoga and massage
Prescription drug addiction can be devastating, but you can fight back against it and come out stronger on the other side. At Ashley Addiction Treatment Center in Havre de Grace, Maryland, you’ll be able to complete recovery programs that can help you live the life you deserve. Call 866-313-6307 to determine which of our substance abuse programs is right for your lifelong sobriety, health, and happiness.