If you have ever pondered the question of who drug treatment is for but deep down believing that it is only for those addicted to illegal substances such as heroin or cocaine, then you would be wrong. The reality is that it is not just illegal drugs that require drug treatment, although there are still countless individuals who find this hard to accept.
There is no denying that drug addiction is a consequence of illegal substance abuse, but did you know that it can also be caused when people abuse prescription medication? As difficult as this may be to digest, there is a growing number of individuals in the UK struggling to overcome addictions to medications prescribed by their doctor to treat a legitimate medical condition.
According to a report published on the Independent website, one in eleven patients in the UK was prescribed a potentially addictive drug in 2017. Although the levels of prescription drug abuse in this country are not on a par with those in the US at this juncture – 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016 alone – there are fears that these are heading in the same direction, especially if something is not done to rectify the problem. Around two million people here are already addicted to prescription drugs – are you one of them?
How Are Prescription Drugs Dangerous?
It is very difficult for most people to comprehend the fact that prescription drugs could be addictive, let alone dangerous. After all, how can a medication prescribed to treat a medical condition cause harm or problems? Most people cannot get their heads around this.
They believe that if a medication was dangerous, then why would their doctor prescribe it. The truth is that most prescription drugs that carry a risk for addiction should only be prescribed for short-term use. Moreover, most doctors will only prescribe such drugs if the benefits are deemed to outweigh the risks.
However, the potential to abuse some of these prescription drugs is high. While taking them as prescribed over a short period of time is considered relatively safe, it is easy to develop a tolerance to the drugs. If this happens, the temptation to increase the dose is high – doing this is classed as prescription drug abuse. Furthermore, when prescription drugs are abused, the risk of addiction increases exponentially.
Basically, addiction occurs when your use of prescription medication begins to interfere with everyday life. If you continue to use the medication despite this, you are probably already addicted.
Signs of Addiction
Admitting that an addiction to prescription drugs exists is never going to be easy. As touched upon in the above passages, for most, addiction is something that happens to those who abuse alcohol or illegal drugs; it does not happen because you have taken medication prescribed by a doctor.
Unfortunately, the reality says that this is exactly what can happen. Difficult as it may be to come to terms with prescription drug addiction, if you are suffering but want to get your life back on track, you need to, in the first instance, be able to spot the signs of addiction and then reach out for help.
For example, if you are using more of the medication than advised to by your doctor, you might have developed an increased tolerance to its effects. This could make you feel as though your medication is not providing the same relief that it did when you first started taking it.
Maybe you are not taking your medication to treat a medical problem anymore; perhaps you are taking it because you like the way it makes you feel, or because you are struggling to function without it? If so, then know that you probably have a problem that requires treatment.
There are other signs that could indicate a problem exists, such as a preoccupation with your medication for example. You might spend all day thinking about the next time you get to take your medication, and you may be hiding your use from those you love. You might also be losing interest in spending time with them as well as in doing the activities that you used to enjoy. These are all things that occur when a drug addiction develops.
If you are familiar with these signs, then it is time to get help. So, if you have ever wondered who drug treatment is for, then the answer is – whoever needs it. And that includes you.
Can Drug Treatment Help You?
The very idea of needing drug treatment is something that you may still be completely at odds with, particularly if you have never touched an illegal drug in your life. But these days drug treatment is something that many end up needing. It is very often the case that the question of who drug treatment benefits is one that many people wonder about. The simple answer to this is that it can help anyone struggling to control their life because of a mood-altering substance. This very definitely includes prescription drugs.
If your life has spiralled out of control since you began taking prescription medication and you are finding it difficult to maintain healthy relationships with the people you love, it is time to accept that you have an addiction and that you need treatment.
The longer you ignore your problem, the worse it will become. Addiction is a progressive illness and there is a chance that it could destroy everything you hold dear if you leave it unchecked. The only way to regain control of your life is to act now.
What Is Drug Treatment Like?
Developing a physical addiction to medication would mean going through a detox programme to break the cycle of substance abuse. The type of medication being abused will determine the type of treatment one is given.
For example, while it may be safe to abruptly cease certain medications, for others, doing so could be life-threatening. In a detox facility, staff will be aware of the best way to help you break free from your medication and it could mean that you will need to withdraw gradually. You might even be given a substitute drug while you quit the one you are addicted to. This can help reduce the unpleasant symptoms that you might otherwise experience with withdrawal.
Detox programmes typically last around two weeks, but the exact time will depend on personal circumstances and the drug you are withdrawing from. Some will be shorter while others, longer.
Drug treatment involves more than just quitting the medication though. As well as getting clean, you will need to learn how to stay clean, which usually takes place through a series of counselling and therapy sessions in a rehabilitation programme.
Rehab programmes are provided by the NHS, charities, and private clinics here in the UK. While the NHS and charities tend to offer outpatient programmes, private clinics have the remit when it comes to residential facilities. The type of programme you require will usually be determined by how severe your illness is as well as personal circumstances at the time.
For example, if you have a severe addiction to your medication and it is believed that you will struggle to stay clean while recovering in the real world, you might be advised to consider an inpatient programme.
In a residential facility, you will have no access to any temptations and there will be no distractions to get in the way of your progress. You can forget about the real world while you are being treated and you can focus on getting better and nothing else. This is one of the biggest advantages of such programmes.
Nevertheless, despite the advantages of inpatient programmes, they are not for everyone. There are those who simply cannot, or do not want to, avail of inpatient programmes. Perhaps they have a young family that cannot be away from for an extended period, or commitments at work that would prevent them from taking time off.
Finding the right programme is all about finding the one that works best for you; Addiction Helper can help with this. It is our job to match individuals with the treatment programme that will most suit their needs. If you need help for any type of addiction, let us help.
By calling our helpline today, you can get information on all the treatment options available to you. We will discuss the various programmes offered in your area and answer any questions that you might have about who drug treatment benefits and how to access it.