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

Cast of ‘Mom’ to Air Addiction PSA The cast of the CBS sitcom “Mom” and the US Surgeon General are teaming up for a nationally televised public service announcement (PSA) Feb. 18 focusing on addiction. In the PSA, actresses Allison...
Indiana Prison to Give Vivitrol to Addicted Inmates An Indiana prison is offering inmates the opportunity to stay clean with Vivitrol, a medication designed to suppress cravings for opioids and alcohol. Indiana County Jail made an arrangement with ...
How to Recognize Addictive Behaviors The number of addicts in the United States continues to reach epidemic proportions, from the 24.6 million people who abuse illicit substances, as estimated by the National Survey on Drug Use and Healt...
The Inspiration of Watching a Recovering Addict Struggle I consider myself to be one of the luckiest women in the world, having found my other half. He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me. He used to have a massive drug habit, but he has been recovered...
The 10 Most Addictive Drugs From over-the-counter to on the street, there are many different kinds of drugs available. But out of all of the options out there, what are the most addictive drugs? The answer may surprise you. ...
Admitting You Have a Substance Abuse Problem For many, the hardest step of recovery is admitting you have a problem. Denial is a powerful tool and often carries addicts through years of unnecessary suffering. According to a 2009 survey by SAMHSA...
5 Ways To Know It’s Safe to Return To A Relationship With An Addict You have succeeded in setting boundaries between yourself and your addicted loved one. The relationship is not over, but rather “on pause” until you have witnessed sufficient progress in his or her re...
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...
How Addiction Affects Relationships I have treated many people over the past two decades in my psychotherapy practice who have sought my help in addressing relationship issues that happen as a result of addiction. Typically there are tw...
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...
Prescription Drug Abuse Raises Suicide Risk in Teens Prescription drug abuse is on the rise with around 53 million people, including children over age 12, abusing prescription drugs at least once. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abu...
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...