You CAN live a SOBER LIFE again - CALL NOW for treatment options
1-800-259-1361

How to Identify and Treat a Prescription Drug Addiction

 

Tracking addiction to prescription drugs can be difficult since data is often limited to confirmed overdoses. However, some estimates suggest that prescription drug dependency could affect as many as 9 million Americans. The mild-altering properties associated with opioids, anti-anxiety medications and stimulants make these particular prescription medications more addictive than others, although addictions can also result from mental illness, irrational fears or a history of past problems with drugs and alcohol.

Self-identifying Prescription Addictions

It’s not that easy to identify patients likely to become addicted to prescription pain killers and pills since short-time misuse – whether intentional or not – doesn’t always translate to a long-term problem. However, there are steps patients can take to identify, react to and overcome issues with prescription painkillers. Patients can also self-identify addictions to pain killers by keeping track of dosages and avoiding mistakes like doubling pill intake if a dosage is missed. The key to effective self-identification of a problem with prescription medications is being able to recognize signs of dependency that may include:

  • Taking extra dosages beyond what’s instructed
  • Noticeable changes in sleep and eating habits
  • Making excuses to get refills sooner (i.e., claiming the medication was dropped or somehow lost)

Monitoring Patient Prescription Use

Forty-seven states currently provide medical professionals with access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs. Such programs include the use of a database doctors and pharmacists can access to monitor patient access to prescription pain killers and related pills. The goal of establishing a database is to make it easier for medical professionals to determine if patients are attempting to fill the same prescription at other pharmacies, including locations in neighboring states. Efforts are underway to increase the rate at which existing databases are updated, with the goal of allowing doctors to perform a check while patients are still in the office so the issue can be addressed sooner rather than later.

Balancing Treatment and Risk

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that addictions to opioids cause approximately 40 deaths per day. At the same time, medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet provide much-need relief for patients recovering from dental surgery and post-op discomfort. Consequently, it’s necessary to find a balance between treatment and risk. A solution that appears to be gaining traction is a move towards less-addictive alternatives still offering meaningful relief while minimizing the risk of dependency, including:

  • Over-the-counter pain-relievers that provide similar benefits (like ibuprofen)
  • Physical therapy (hot-cold therapy, strengthening exercises, massage therapy)
  • OTC versions of prescription medications (in lower dosages)
  • Topical medications and injections (when pain is relegated to one or two locations)

While there are no prescription pills that are completely addiction-free, Connecticut-based Cara Therapeutics is among drug companies working on pain medications that may achieve that goal for opioid drugs by targeting different nerve receptors, allowing patients to experience pain relief without risking addiction. Until such medications become a widespread reality, however, patients are encouraged to self-monitor and seek treatment when it becomes obvious that a problem has developed.

Are you or someone you love suffering from drug or alcohol addiction? Call our addiction advisors for the guidance you’re looking for: 1-800-259-1361

Related Articles

7 Goals Every Recovering Addict Should Have When you’re in recovery for alcoholism or drug addiction, it’s always a good idea to have some ongoing goals to keep you focused and creating forward momentum. After all, feeling stuck and apathetic a...
Are E-cigarettes Addictive? E-cigarettes have become very popular in the last few years. Many people see them as a healthier alternative to conventional smoking. Yet e-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs and smokeless tobacco, are ...
Recycle Your Emotional Pain: It Has Purpose It doesn’t take long living on this earth to realize that along with the joy and love that we experience, we also encounter a lot of emotional pain and discomfort. These contrasting emotions are all p...
Is Drug Addiction a Choice? Most individuals use medicines as directed by their physicians. Nevertheless, millions of American citizens have admitted to taking prescription drugs for reasons that have nothing to do with maintain...
Addressing Patterns of Isolation in Addicts It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being. ...
Teen Addiction – Are There Enough Treatment Resources? Addiction truly knows no age boundaries when it comes to its hold and damage. While current statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show some areas of drug use decreasing among middle sch...
Top 10 Gifts for Your Newly Sober Friend A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer. ― Seneca When a friend or loved one enters recovery, it’s safe to assume that they’re experiencing both ph...
Marijuana Use Doubles in the US According to a new study, marijuana use in the United States has more than doubled in the last 10 years. The percentage of American adults who had used marijuana within the last year was 9.5%, the ...
The One Question That Started My Recovery (Video) Words like "addict" and "alcoholic" can carry a heavy weight. In fact, the stigma evoked by these labels drives many of us deeper into denial and isolation. What if we stopped getting so hung up o...
Why Treating Addiction as a Disease Isn’t Helpful We are taught in contemporary America that addiction is a chronic disease. This pronouncement is given by the NIDA, NIAAA, ASAM, and other government and non-profit addiction agencies and is unquestio...
Helping Your Addicted Loved One Through the Holidays Jingle Bells piping through every speaker system in the city. Families laughing in Santa hats as the ham gets carved. Children tearing open gifts as they squeal with joy. The holidays are here again! ...
Effects of Drugs on the Human Brain The effects of various drugs on the human brain are both physiological and psychological. Those with substance abuse problems often prize their drug of choice for the euphoric feelings with which it i...