People addicted to prescription drugs may not realize the changes a brain undergoes as drugs start to take over vital functions. These changes account for why someone intending to stop using finds him or herself unable to do so. For these reasons alone, getting necessary prescription drug abuse treatment is, more oftentimes than not, the only way a person can successfully break a drug addiction.
Above all else, prescription drug abuse treatment provides the types of supports and guidance recovering addicts need to overcome the effects of drugs on their mental and physical processes. Prescription drug abuse treatment approaches include ongoing counseling and sometimes medication treatments depending on the type of drug addiction.
Types of Prescription Drug Abuse
Drug addictions, in general, function as a disease of the brain, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Like any other type of disease, when left untreated, the brain’s structures and functions continue to deteriorate for as long as a person keeps using. This same process comes into play regardless of the type of prescription drug used.
Opioids or pain relief medications account for the highest addiction rates. Anti-anxiety medications, sedatives and hypnotics can be highly addictive as well. Stimulant medications also carry a risk for abuse. Examples of these types of medications include:
- Opioids – Vicodin, Oxycontin
- Anti-Anxiety and sedative medications – Valium, Xanax
- Hypnotics – Ambien
- Stimulants – Ritalin
The addictive effects that drive prescription drug abuse closely resemble those of drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD. Opioids, anti-anxiety and sedative medications affect the same brain chemical processes as heroin. Stimulants affect the same brain chemical processes as cocaine. Hypnotic medications affect the same chemical processes as LSD.
In essence, when any type of medication is taken in excess, the potential for prescription drug abuse increases with each dose.
Counseling plays a pivotal role in helping recovering addicts manage prescription drug abuse problems. When effective, counseling treatment can offer the following benefits:
- Help a person avoid “tempting” situations
- Overcome drug cravings
- Develop healthy coping skills for dealing with relationship conflicts
- Stress management techniques
Counseling treatment can take place within different types of settings, some of which include group counseling, individual counseling and family counseling, according to the Mayo Clinic. A person’s individual treatment needs determines which type of setting is used.
Behavioral therapy and contingency management are the most commonly used counseling approaches for treating prescription drug abuse. Behavior therapy focuses on instilling a health self-image and teaching healthy coping skills, while contingency management uses motivational incentives, such as free products and services to encourage abstinence behaviors.
To date, no known medication therapies exist for stimulant and hypnotic drug abuse treatment, however, opioid addiction drug treatments employ several types of medication therapies to help recovering addicts better manage addiction cravings and withdrawal effects.
Opiate prescription drug abuse medication therapies include:
Medication treatment approaches used with stimulant, anti-anxiety and hypnotic drug addictions work more so to help alleviate specific withdrawal effects, such as anxiety and mood swings.