The prescription drug abuse recovery process is similar in structure to treating addiction to many illicit street drugs. Most drug and alcohol abuse programs begin treatment with the detox process to eliminate the effects of the substance from the body.
For most people, the detox process begins within 24 hours of the person taking the last dose. Depending on the type of prescription drug being taken, some recovering people may be treated with replacement medications to reduce the severity of any symptoms associated with withdrawal.
While detox is the first stage in the prescription drug abuse recovery process, it only helps to break the body's physical dependency on the substance. Detox on its own does nothing to address the underlying psychological triggers behind self-destructive behaviors associated with addictive substance use.
Prescription drug abuse effects vary, depending on the type of drug being taken. The more commonly abused prescription medications fall into one of three categories. These include:
Opiates: Prescription opiate painkiller medications are commonly abused drugs for the feelings of euphoria and relaxation they invoke in users as they attach to the brain's opioid receptors. It's also common for some users to abuse prescription opiate medications as they believe they must be somehow safer than illicit street opiates such as heroin as they were prescribed by a doctor. In reality, many opiate painkiller medications are equally as addictive as heroin and require the same comprehensive treatments in order to recover.
Sedatives: Prescription sedative medications are common drugs of abuse. Sedative medications, such as Xanax (alprazolam) or Valium (diazepam) act directly on the central nervous system as depressants. When used exactly as prescribed, prescription sedative medications relieve symptoms of anxiety and panic disorder. However, when taken for recreational purposes sedative medications cause changes in the brain's chemistry.
Stimulants: Prescription stimulant medications such as amphetamines are used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or sleeping disorders. However, when they're used for recreational purposes, they have a similar effect on users, as such illicit street drugs as cocaine or methamphetamine. The user may experience an initial rush of euphoria and increased energy, followed by a temporarily false sense of confidence or invincibility Tolerance to stimulant medications can develop quickly, which increases the risk of becoming addicted to the substance.
The intended prescription drug abuse effects are the primary cause for recreational use of many types of medications. However, continued abuse of many prescription medications increases the risk of developing tolerance, physical dependency and addiction.
Treating prescription drug abuse requires a comprehensively structured rehabilitation program. Drug and alcohol abuse programs use a combination of behavioral therapies and individual psychotherapy sessions designed to help the recovering person identify the psychological triggers behind dysfunctional behaviors.
All drug and alcohol abuse programs begin treatment with the detox process to help rid the body of the effects of the drug being taken. However, detox alone does nothing to address the underlying psychological reasons behind self-destructive drug abuse.
The prescription drug abuse recovery process requires the correct combination of behavioral therapies and individual counseling sessions designed to identify each person's unique addiction triggers. Psychotherapy helps each recovering person uncover their hidden motivation to change.
Counseling then begins working to help the person develop a strong relapse prevention strategy to reduce the risk of returning to a pattern of self-destructive behavior after treatment has ended.
It's also recommended that the recovering person regularly attends group support meetings as part of the prescription drug abuse recovery process. Group meetings help to reduce feelings of isolation through the recovery process and produce feelings of accountability through peer support, which helps to improve the chances of remaining clean and sober over the long term.