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Unique Aspects of Prescription Drug Addiction

Unique Aspects of Prescription Drug Addiction

By The Hope Rehab Team

Topic at one glance:

Different Paths to Addiction

There are unique aspects of prescription drug addiction that need to be considered if we want to treat this condition successfully. Those of us who become dependent on these substances often have had a legitimate reason (e.g. chronic pain or anxiety) for initially using them. This means any treatment approach that is solely focused on recreational drug use might fail to address our motivations and future needs.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Hope Rehab

You might also be interested in this blog post: “Prescription Addiction: The Hidden Shadow of Addiction

Unique Aspects of Prescription Drug Addiction

Abuse of prescription medication has increased dramatically since the nineties (e.g. in the US abuse of opiate medication rose from 144,600 in 2004 to 305,900 in 2008). This has led to a noticeable change in the characteristics of the population seeking rehab treatment. Importantly, these are often individuals with no history of abusing alcohol or recreational drugs, yet they have still ended up with a serious addiction problem.

A Common Scenario: This Is How A Prescription Drug Addiction Might Start

The process of becoming dependent on prescribed medication can differ significantly from other types of substance problems. For instance, it often doesn’t start off as abuse. A common scenario is a doctor has prescribed the person a strong opiate for something like back pain or a shoulder injury. If the person strictly takes the drug as prescribed for a short duration, the risk of serious addiction is low. The problem is that this drug produces highly desirable side-effects (e.g. relaxation, euphoria, and physical comfort). So, there is a high temptation to use the drug for reasons other than the one it was prescribed for (this choice to take an ‘extra pill’ can seem harmless and justified in the beginning – our brains are great are rationalizing the stuff we want to do).

A Dangerous Misconception About Prescription Drugs

Another unique aspect of prescription drug addiction is it can appear less harmful than other types of drug abuse. After all, these medications are prescribed by doctors and bought in pharmacies so surely they must be safe? This is a dangerous misconception. These drugs are addictive and toxic to our body and mind, and once we are hooked, the consequences can be identical to other forms of substance abuse. It is because of this danger that many drugs are only available by prescription.

What Puts You At High Risk To Become Addicted To Prescription Drugs

One trend we have noticed at Hope is a high percentage of our clients who seek treatment for prescription drug abuse have already been in recovery for other types of substance abuse. It seems these individuals are at far higher risk of becoming addicted to prescribed medication.

Unique Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

There are certainly similarities between all types of addictive behaviour, but it is important to consider the unique characteristics of each form of abuse if we intend to provide effective treatment. The traditional rehab ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality is no longer appropriate when it comes to dealing with prescription drug abuse.

The Hope program acknowledges these unique aspects of prescription drug addiction by:

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If you would like more information on prescription drug addiction treatment at Hope Rehab or if you have any questions, please feel welcome to get in touch with us via the contact form below.