When used as directed by a doctor, prescription medications can be very helpful in treating many illnesses. However, if misused, prescription medication can be as addictive and dangerous as any other drug or alcohol, or even more so.
What is Prescription Medication addiction?
Prescription drugs are medications that are prescribed by a medical professional to treat physical or mental health conditions.
When taken as directed, these medications can help individuals feel better. However, misusing prescription drugs may come with a variety of harmful effects, including addiction, medical or mental health problems, or overdose.
Prescription drug misuse occurs when an individual takes a medication in a way that is different from the way it was prescribed. That might refer to upping the dosage, taking another person’s medication, or using the prescription to get high.
Many people mistakenly believe prescription medications are safe because they are FDA approved and prescribed by a doctor. However, all medications have risks and they are only safe when taken as directed by the person for whom they were prescribed. Misusing or abusing prescription medications is dangerous and can lead to long-term health problems.
What prescription medications do we treat?
Whilst we are able o treat clients of most prescription medications, here are the three most commonly abused types of prescription drugs and how they impact the brain and body:
Opioids: Usually prescribed to treat pain, opioid medications contain oxycodone (the active ingredient in Oxycontin and Percocet) or hydrocodone (the active ingredient in Norco). Opioids affect receptors in the brain and spinal cord, reducing pain signals and impacting areas of the brain that control emotion.
Tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics: These drugs, known as central nervous system depressants, work by slowing brain activity.This category includes mental health medications, anti-anxiety drugs, as well as prescription drugs for sleep disorders, such as brand-named drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Ambien.
Stimulants: Stimulants increase the release of dopamine in the brain and body, and create a feeling of heightened alertness. Most often prescribed for ADHD, these medications include methylphenidate (in Ritalin and Concerta), dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (in Adderall), and dextroamphetamine (in Dexedrine).
A common misconception.
“Just because your medication was manufactured by a respected pharmaceutical company, and prescribed by your family Doctor, does not mean you cannot get addicted to your prescription medication”.
Signs that you may have an addiction symptoms
Signs of prescription medications addiction can include both physical and psychological symptoms. Here are the signs that may signal that someone has a prescription medication addiction.
Physical symptoms may include:
- Intoxication – Depending on the drug, prescription drug intoxication may invoke drowsiness, difficulty in staying awake, slurred or slowed speech and difficult to engage with, or the person may be full of energy, confident and unusually chatty.
- Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol, medications or other drugs – Those that abuse prescription drugs are likely aiming to get ‘high’. They may achieve the high they are seeking by combing prescriptions drugs with alcohol or other drugs.
- Taking more of the drug than they are prescribed.
- Taking prescription drugs that do not belong to them – Sourcing prescription drugs from the internet, family, friends or a street dealer.
- Binging on prescription drugs – Abuse of drugs includes binging on them. The individual may save up prescription drugs so that they can take them all in one go or over a short period of time.
- Changes in weight and appearance – Abusing prescription drugs can lead to weight loss/gain and loss of interest in appearance. Dilated or constricted pupils, bloodshot eyes and looking unusually unkempt are also signs of addiction.
- Changing the route of administration – One form of prescription drug abuse is to change the route of administration other than prescribed. This may include crushing and snorting tablets or injecting an oral solution.
Psychological Symptoms may include:
Withdrawal management at Jintara Rehab focuses on:
- Severe mood swings – Following on from abusing prescription drugs there will be a period of “coming down” from the high. The individual may appear agitated, anxious, panicky, paranoid, delusional, violent or depressed.
- Changes in character and behaviour – A person who abuses prescription drugs may act out of character and behave impulsively with little or no thought to possible consequences.
- Changes in social interaction – Someone who is abusing prescription drugs may start to socialise with a different circle of friends or adversely isolate on their own.
- Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy – This may include hobbies and time spent with family and friends.
- Suffer consequences as a direct result of prescription drug abuse – They may start to fall behind at school or suffer consequences at work, physically or mentally, or have problems within their family and social environment.
How Prescription Medication Addiction is treated at Jintara Rehab
Treatment for Prescription Medication Addiction starts long before you arrive at Jintara Rehab. We conduct detailed phone/Zoom assessments with one of our International Therapy Team to understand your unique needs, so we can make sure that you get the proper treatment and care from the moment you arrive.
We assess your immediate condition and if you need medication for detox and to help with withdrawal management, safety and comfort. This assessment is done at our Partner hospitals and always under medical supervision and prescription. The actual detox process is done on site at Jintara and managed by our 24-hour Nursing team, who will check on you regularly.
Soon after your arrival, we will take you to one of our Partner Hospitals for a detailed medical checkup. This includes full blood-work, liver function test, kidney function test and EKG at a minimum. Jintara is the only Thai rehab to include these detailed tests as part of the standard fees, and gives both you and us peace of mind that you are in good physical shape, and if not, we can address it during your stay with us.
Counseling and therapy for groups and individuals help you better understand your problem with alcohol and support recovery from the psychological aspects of alcohol use. At Jintara you will receive approximately 70-hours of clinician face time per month. We are unique at Jintara in that we treat the causes of addiction and not just the symptoms. We call this dual diagnosis and you can read more about that here.
This process usually involves alcohol treatment specialists. It may include goal setting, behavior change techniques, use of self-help manuals, counseling and follow-up care.
Aftercare is optional (but highly recommended) and you can continue working with your Focal Counselor after you leave Jintara.
Why Jintara might be the best treatment option for you.
Jintara Rehab is a small boutique rehab that specializes in support for alcohol addiction, accepting only 10 private clients in a beautiful boutique rehab setting – so you wont be overlooked or overwhelmed. Our focus is on providing the best client experience we can – from our highly experienced and credentialed International Therapy Team, attentive and caring Thai staff, wonderful resort-like facilities and amazing holistic, fitness and nutritional options at a reasonable price.
But if you are still not sure on which rehab is best for you, contact us for a no obligation chat about you or someone you care about.
We are here to help.
Jintara Rehab – Escape to Recovery.