Medication treatment at the Hope Rehab Centre here in Thailand, we are increasingly working with clients who have suffered greatly due to prescription drug addiction. We provide a sanctuary where these people can regain control over their lives.
Prescription drugs are easily attainable via the WWW or doctor shopping
Most medications can be purchased online these days or obtained from private doctors. Doctor shopping is a term used when a patient visits more than one doctor to collect medication for recreational use. This is also known as drug diversion, i.e. not using the meds for the purpose prescribed. Diversion is also the term used when someone sells their medication to a third party. Many drug dealers who sell illicit drugs also sell some medications such as Valium for comedowns and sleep after the high.
Examples of widely abused pharmaceuticals:
The most widely abused pharmaceuticals fall into three categories:
Opioids: Euphoric effect and pain killing effect.
Central nervous system depressants: Sleeping pills, tranquillizers and depressants, these include benzodiazepines, some of the most abused drugs globally
Stimulants: (uppers) usually for ADHD.
Recently highly addictive opioid medications such as codeine and morphine have increased to epidemic proportions.
There are always risks associated with taking prescription medication
Medication treatment – Potentially addictive prescription drugs can be necessary to treat conditions such as pain, anxiety, and insomnia. However, there are always going to be risks associated with taking this type of medication, and this is why it is only available on prescription. Your doctor should be aware of the potential dangers and be able to direct you on how to use these substances in a safe way.
Prescribed drugs have certain side effects that you can start to enjoy
One of the risks with certain prescribed drugs such as opiates and stimulants is that they have certain side effects that you can start to enjoy. You can start off taking a drug like codeine for pain as directed by the doctor, but you notice that it makes you feel chilled out. Then after a particularly hectic day, you decide to take this drug to help you relax – after all, what’s the harm?
The line into addiction is easily crossed
Before you know it, you are caught up in addiction, and you are contemplating all types of unethical behaviour to get your hands on more of the drug, you need Medication treatment.
Even if you only take these drugs as prescribed, you can still cross the line into addiction. This is why it is so important that your doctor carefully monitors your dosage and use of the drug. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen the way it should.
Be aware how dangerous prescription drugs really are
Prescription drugs contain highly addictive substances and the user can easily form a dependency
No matter how or why the narcotic medication is acquired they are highly addictive substances and the user can easily form a dependency in a short period of time. This, in turn, means developing a tolerance and then needing an increased dosage as well as being preoccupied with the drug.
Women are believed to be most at risk
Fact: In the last ten years overdose deaths by narcotic medications have tripled in the US, far more than heroin or illicit drugs. And according to one survey pain is the most common reason for visiting a doctor. Women are believed to be most at risk of becoming addicted to prescribed medications.
The users of medications face similar consequences as those of illicit drugs
Rehab Centers today providing medication addiction treatment see similar consequences for the user of medications to that of illicit drug use, regardless of the original complaint being medicated.
ADD/ADHD (= Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
If the underlying reasons are not addressed the patient will face the same issues all other addicts face
Oxycontin has similar effects as heroin
Oxycontin otherwise known as Hillbilly heroin on the street is prescribed for pain. However, its effects are similar to heroin having many addictive side effects that keep users needing more and more even when the pain goes away just like Vicodin and many other trade name opioid medications.
Opioid-use-disorder is now a formal diagnosis in DSM 5
Opioid-use-disorder is now a formal diagnosis in DSM 5 – opioids like morphine depress the central nervous system, heroin is a derivative of morphine. Opioid use disorder is characterised by continued use despite direct or indirect harmful consequence.
Underlying reasons or causes of the issues must be addressed
The medication may bring relief to the diagnosed problem initially however if the underlying reasons or causes of the issues are not also addressed then over time the patient will face the same addiction issues that all addicts face.
When faced with stopping the medication a sense of panic sets in
Stopping using the medication is often the worst fear and a sense of panic sets in at the thought of not having the daily pill or dose that has become a crutch and justifying thoughts like “it’s only medication and not illegal” keep the addiction alive.
Loved ones can watch out for following behaviour changes
Behaviour change is the most disturbing effect that loved ones witness: social withdrawal and isolation, volatile behaviour, sometimes uninhibited behaviour, low moods and mood swings, self-neglect, loss of interest and lack of ambition are just some examples.
The detox from the medication of choice usually takes about two weeks
Important notice: Do not attempt to stop taking Benzodiazepines without getting advice as you could have a seizure.
Detox and a reduction plan are the first steps toward reversing the direction your life has taken. Withdrawal symptoms for many medications at various stages include fits and seizures, muscle spasm and pain, restlessness, diarrhoea, insomnia, sweating, emotionally sensitive, fatigue and flu-like symptoms and need to be managed carefully.
For most of our clients, the detox is over a two week period – depending on the level and length of time of usage and your individual medical history, it could take longer.
You won’t only become physically but also psychologically dependent
After multiple years of medication dependency, the user has become dependent not only physically and psychologically but for their motivation and energy to complete ordinary daily tasks so a recovery period is necessary to restore a healthy lifestyle.
Addictive behaviour will not magically vanish – there is healing work to do
Post acute withdrawals (PAWS) can last up to a year
In addition to the physical detoxification process post acute withdrawals or PAWS can last up to a year, this includes many challenging symptoms and potential relapse triggers. Exploring the underlying issues, or the self-defeating thinking and behaviour that leads to such a serious addiction is fundamental to medication addiction treatment.
Addictive behaviour will not magically vanish – there is healing work to do
After detox, it is important to complete a program of treatment as the physical dependence or effects are not the whole problem. The primary condition is also no longer the underlying problems that originally created the desire to escape by using medication. Now that you have established a pattern of substance misuse and addictive behaviour it will not magically vanish after detoxing from the medication use itself. There is healing work to do using our program.
So if you want help stopping or reducing prescribed or non-perscribed medication please consult us immediately. We will assess you and explore your past issues as well as the original issues you were prescribed medication for (e.g. pain, depression, sleep, anxiety, etc.).