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Breaking the Cycle: Recovering from Prescription Drug Abuse

One of the most insidious of all addictions is that of prescription drug abuse. How come? Well, there’s a fine line between taking the drug that was prescribed to us to alleviate our symptoms and being unable to function without it because a major addiction has taken hold. Since many of us take these drugs because of an existing condition that needs to be treated, it can be much harder to imagine life without them. 

Still, it is possible to break the cycle once prescription drug abuse causes our life to feel completely out of control. If you’re looking for a drug and alcohol rehab center for your prescription drug abuse, then you’re greatly increasing your chances of detoxing from the drug and setting yourself up for a sober future. And, if you’re thinking about entering a California rehab center for prescription drug abuse, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse refers to abusing prescription drugs – either prescribed to the individual or not. But what is drug abuse? Drug abuse is abusing a substance – in other words, not using it for its intended purpose. Basically, it means using a substance for recreational rather than therapeutic uses.

Prescription drug abuse and prescription drug addiction are technically two different things. Abuse means that the person is misusing the drug, which can be occasional – like taking Xanax with alcohol for recreational purposes once a month at a party. Addiction is different – it means that the person is addicted to the substance, either physically, mentally, or both, and is, therefore, dependent on it. They must take the drug frequently – often multiple times a day – or they will experience withdrawal symptoms. 

So, what kinds of prescription drugs can be abused? Technically, any substance can be abused. It doesn’t have to be inherently addictive to be capable of being abused by a person. Any drug that is taken more often or in higher doses than recommended, is combined with an intoxicating substance, or is taken for a purpose other than that for which it is intended can be abused. 

Now, with that being said, the most commonly abused prescription drugs are placed into two categories:

  • Category 1: Benzodiazepines
    Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium, are anti-anxiety medications commonly abused because they are effective sedatives. People may use them to escape from stress or anxiety or to sleep at night. These drugs are highly addictive, and withdrawal can be dangerous if not done in a rehab center overseen by a certified professional.
  • Category 2: Opioids
    Opioids, including Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet, and Fentanyl, are incredibly addictive, like benzodiazepines, and are closely related to heroin, an opiate. These drugs are prescribed for physical pain but are easy to abuse because they are intoxicating, dependency-forming, and can shut down receptors that react to physical and emotional pain.

What Causes Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is one of the easiest forms of substance abuse. The reason is that most people who end up addicted to these drugs had once been prescribed them. The cycle is quite simple. The patient tries the new drug their doctor prescribed them and then finds much-needed relief. From there, they continue taking the drug as instructed, but over time, their tolerance increases, as is the nature of many of these drugs, and so they need to take a higher dose to get the same level of relief that they once did. They must also take the drug more frequently throughout the day to sustain that relief. At the same time, by this point, the patient is physically and mentally addicted to the drug.

Before long, the person is entirely dependent on the drug and may have to turn to other avenues to get more of it, as they require more than what’s being prescribed to them. After a certain juncture, their life may become out of control as their daily routine revolves around acquiring and taking the drug, while other important areas of their life fall to the wayside.

Recovering from Prescription Drug Abuse

Once a person has become addicted to a prescription drug, stopping without entering a rehabilitation program is hard. A certified rehab facility can help the individual through every step of the process of recovery, including:

  • Detox: The first step to recovery is undergoing detox. This is a process in which the individual is supervised while they cease using the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are managed healthily, while the patient is given a personalized plan to stop engaging with the substance.
  • Individual Therapy: Individual therapy enables the patient to work with a licensed psychotherapist to address underlying factors contributing to addictive behaviors and triggers that create an urgency to use.
  • Group Therapy: In group therapy, individuals recovering from addiction create an environment of mutual support and personal accountability to inspire and encourage one another to maintain sobriety. This can also help patients feel emotionally validated in their struggles and even help with the feelings of isolation and shame of addiction.
  • Long-Term Recovery: A good rehab facility will help patients develop tools to support long-term sobriety after they leave the treatment center.

Bottom Line: Recovery from prescription drug addiction is possible but often requires visiting a rehab center. If you’re looking for rehab in California, Four Seasons Rehab can provide the services you need for a full recovery. Our team of staff consists of experienced, licensed professionals who understand the unique needs of individuals looking to recover from prescription drug abuse and addiction. Schedule a visit to our facility today to find out how we’re ready to help you on your journey.

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