The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that nearly 20 million Americans aged 12 and over misuse prescription drugs. About 1% of Americans aged 12 or older have a prescription drug use disorder. Our prescription drug addiction treatment in Boulder, CO, helps those struggling with prescription drug misuse.
Doctors prescribe millions of Americans all kinds of medications in pill form every day. However, just because a pill is doctor-prescribed does not mean it’s safe for everyone. Certain prescription drugs are highly addictive and downright dangerous if misused.
Unfortunately, as the number of prescribed drugs increases, so does the rate of people misusing them. Interestingly, some prescribed drugs, such as OxyContin, Klonopin, and Adderall, can be just as dangerous and problematic in a community as street drugs.
Common Prescription Drugs That Are Addictive
Some prescription drugs are more addictive than others. Most of these drugs prescribed are potent opioids prescribed for pain. Opioids flood the brain with dopamine, creating a pleasurable or euphoric high and the urge to retake the drug.
- Benzodiazepines (Klonopin, Xanax, Valium)
- Opioids (Dilaudid, Fentanyl, Morphine, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin)
- Stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin)
Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse
Drug addiction (or drug use disorder) is a disease that affects a user’s brain and behavior. The signs of prescription drug abuse are evident. The following criteria come from the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013:
- Prescription medication is taken in more significant amounts or over a more extended period than was intended
- A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to reduce or control prescription medication use
- Much time is spent on activities necessary to obtain a prescription medication, use, or recover from its effects
- A strong desire or urge to use prescription medication
- Recurrent prescription medication use results in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home
- Continued prescription medication use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of prescription drugs
- Recurrent prescription medication use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
- Prescription medication is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems likely to have been caused or exacerbated by prescription drugs
- Physical or psychological issues likely to have been caused or exacerbated by prescription medication use
- High tolerance for prescription medication
- Withdrawal symptoms are experienced without using prescription medications
Anyone who meets at least two of these criteria in the past 12 months may suffer from a substance use disorder, putting them at risk for significant health problems or a drug overdose. At this point, it’s time for prescription drug addiction treatment in Boulder, CO, before it’s too late.
Prescription Drug Detox Programs
With increased prescription drug dependence comes the increased need for addiction recovery. However, recovering from benzo or other prescription drug addiction is not easy. For example, benzo withdrawal symptoms and their adverse effects on a person are rough.
Once one checks into treatment for any prescription drug use disorder, the next step is a medical detoxification program.
A medical professional determines the detox period; however, it’s usually 2-7 days or until the client is medically and mentally stable. A set detox time is crucial for those abusing benzodiazepines (benzos) for an extended period.
The reason is that detoxification from benzodiazepines often causes serious medical complications and even death. A prescription drug detox requires close monitoring by medical professionals.
A person should never try and detox on their own. They will likely return to prescription drug abuse before the withdrawal process ends.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Prescription Drugs
When a person abruptly stops using prescription drugs, their central nervous system goes into shock. Hence, withdrawal symptoms have begun creating a range of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms are not for the faint of heart. Prescription drug addiction treatment in Boulder, CO, offers a designated medical detox center where severe withdrawal symptoms are managed and made less uncomfortable.
Prescription drug withdrawal symptoms usually mimic severe flu symptoms, including a low-grade fever.
Other symptoms of prescription drug withdrawals include:
- Drug cravings
- Agitation and irritability
- Runny nose
- Digestive issues
- Severe stomach cramps
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Cold sweats
- Heightened anxiety
Understanding the prescription drug withdrawal timeline and the potential dangers one can encounter during that period is crucial to recovery and staying free from addiction for a lifetime.
The average person typically starts experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms around the first 24 hours of last use. The symptoms will peak from there during the first 1-4 days.
The timeline for prescription drug withdrawals varies depending on the type of drug, the amount used, and the length of use. For example, based on these factors, one could experience major withdrawals between a few days and several months.
Medical supervision ensures qualified staff will manage any complications. Chances of relapse significantly decrease when the detoxification process is done using safe and appropriate methods for withdrawal.
Post-detox treatment for substance use disorder stemming from prescription medications at Flatirons Recovery in Boulder typically begins with a partial hospitalization program (PHP), or day treatment program for at least 4 weeks.
After that, clients often step down into our intensive outpatient program (IOP) for 4-12 weeks while continuing to work for their therapeutic team on a plan that addresses their needs. A solid therapeutic team is essential to recovery after the structured prescription drug treatment ends.