Prescription drugs are medications that can be legally prescribed by a licensed doctor. They have the potential to be as addictive and dangerous as recreational drugs, although these qualities of theirs are often underestimated. Individuals can buy prescription drugs illegally online. Those who buy them on the black market, rather than having them legally prescribed by a GP, are more likely to develop a dependence and, subsequentially, an addiction.
If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to prescription drugs, you can find help in a number of ways. There is a caring community of experts, support workers, and recovering addicts who offer an abundance of resources and services to guide you into recovery, provided as part of both private and NHS-based treatments.
Prescription Drug Addictions We Treat
The Sanctuary Lodge team treats numerous prescription drug addictions while knowing and recognising the most commonly abused ones. Drugs used to treat such conditions as anxiety, sleep disorders, and seizures by creating a calming effect through the chemicals in the brain via neurotransmitters are often abused. These are called Benzodiazepines or Benzos. This category might include sleeping pills like Z drugs, including Valium, Oxazepam, Diazepam, Lorazepam.
We also provide treatment for addiction to opioids which offer relief by blocking receptors in the central nervous system to reduce the perception of pain. Opiates are the same except they aren’t synthetic like opioids; they come instead from the natural opium poppy plant. But both types of drugs have similar effects (1). Such medications are codeine, dihydrocodeine, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, fentanyl.
Ritalin is another commonly abused prescription drug. Usually prescribed for ADHD, it increases concentration and also has a calming effect.
How Does Rehab for Prescription Drugs Work?
Rehab for prescription drugs focuses on addressing the physical and mental conditions of addiction. First, you will be assessed by our inhouse dedicated psychiatrist. Detoxification, the second step of your treatment, is the process of cleansing your body from toxins and getting the abused drugs out of your system. Depending upon your level of dependency, and if you have co-occurring conditions, detox might also be medicated to ensure your safety.
Rehabilitation is the second part of your treatment at Sanctuary Lodge. This step consists of therapies offered by addiction experts. During rehab, you are surrounded by a caring network of support workers, nurses, and therapists who are all professionally trained and knowledgeable about addiction. An individualised care programme is offered to everyone to make sure your personal needs and requirements are met according to your health, medical history, emotional state and other conditions.
The last stage of your treatment for prescription drug addiction will be aftercare. This stage includes twelve-month continued support and counselling, alongside family sessions and group meetings.
The medical assessment is an essential first step in the treatment process. It tells your doctors and therapists which prescription drugs you have been using and whether you suffer from any other addictions or conditions. This will help them create an individualised care plan and determine which drugs specifically you need to be tapered off from during treatment, such as illegal drugs, alcohol or other prescription medications.
It also assesses whether you have a dependency on other drugs like alcohol, which the addiction experts can take into account to make sure you undergo a safe and successful recovery with informed support. If you have a mental health condition that also needs addressing, the medical assessment will make a note of that too.
Prescription drug detoxification
Prescription drug detoxification is the process of cleansing your body of toxins by abstaining from taking the drug on which you’ve become physically dependent. This process is sometimes eased through the use of medication, called a medical detox. Medication can aid in withdrawal symptom management. However, medicated or not, the support staff will always be there to make you feel as safe and comfortable as possible during detox.
Detoxing can seem like a very unpleasant experience, but it is manageable when done in a controlled environment and supervised by our team of addiction specialists and support workers. Withdrawal from opioids includes symptoms of aches and pains, muscle spasms, stomach cramps, heart-pounding, insomnia, feelings of coldness, runny eyes, yawning, and feeling sick (2).
To reduce the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal from opiates and benzodiazepines, sometimes you go through a process called tapering. This happens when you don’t stop taking the drug at once but instead gradually reduce your dosage, which slowly lessens your dependency upon it and lowers the severity of withdrawal symptoms. The specific details of your detox, whether it includes medication or tapering, will depend upon your medical assessment, as well as the type of prescription drug to which you are addicted.
Medical Prescription Detox
In instances of severe dependence on a type of prescription drug, a medical detox might be necessary, which is when medication is used to manage withdrawal. For example, when detoxing from a benzodiazepine, a replacement like Librium, also called Chlordiazepoxide, is sometimes used. Although it is also a type of benzodiazepine, a controlled dosage can ease the withdrawal symptoms from other drugs and be well managed within the safe environment of a rehab centre. Librium is sometimes also used to manage alcohol withdrawal.
Another method of withdrawal management using medication is tapering. Some medicines may be used for easing the withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety or problem sleeping.
Psychotherapy covers a range of therapies used to address the mental component of prescription drug addiction, often using talking as a tool to recognise patterns of behaviour and learn how to change. During rehab, you will undergo individual therapy, which happens between you and at least one other therapist. It focuses entirely on your personal situation.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a practised method which teaches you to recognise the triggers of anxiety and compulsive behaviours and develop the strategies to react less destructively. It is goals-oriented so you can measure your progress, complete set stages, and encourage yourself through evident accomplishments. This all adds to a more positive mind-set, a motivated recovery, and the reconditioning of your own behaviour.
Dialectical behavioural therapy
Another therapy called dialectical behavioural treatment has a larger focus on meditation as a mental grounding and calming technique and the importance of supportiveness. DBT relies upon the collaborative efforts of yourself and your therapists to recognise your strengths and successes on a personal level. Group therapy also plays a vital role in understanding that others share your struggles and can help you through the rehab process, just as you can help them too.
Aftercare provided by Sanctuary Lodge is free for twelve months after completing your rehab programme with us and offers a personalised care programme, including regular group meetings and counselling sessions to keep you involved in the supportive network. You and your loved ones can also make use of the family support programmes which create a safe and supervised setting for discussing any problems or concerns you may have and wish to share with your loved ones.
UKAT Alumni provides a helpful and caring community of people who have had similar experiences. This is a community created by us and preserved through the unique family-like feeling of belonging that people who have completed their rehab with us share. We organise meetings, group sessions, events and more for the Alumni.
The Benefits of Prescription Drug Rehab
Prescription drug addiction is not something you should face alone. Rehab offers emotional and mental support, as well as medical expertise, to ensure that your recovery is safe and successful. Studies show that formal treatment is consistently associated with better outcomes, and also illustrates that spending an extended amount of time in treatment is similarly beneficial (3).
- You experience more intense and wholesome, supervised treatment
- You live in a safe environment with a structured schedule
- You are separated from the stresses and triggers of your usual routine
- You can focus entirely on your recovery
- You will have to pay for this unless your private insurer covers the treatment
- You will have to face a transition period back in the real world
- You can continue your commitments to work, study or family
- You receive care and support through outpatient therapy
- You don’t have the same high level of supervision and consistency
- You have to face the stresses of daily life, which might be triggers
- You can’t focus entirely on your recovery without real-world distractions
- You don’t have a dedicated team looking after your health 24/7
How long does prescription drug rehab last?
We offer different treatment lengths for prescription drug rehab because we know that there are no two lives alike and no two people who are completely the same. Depending on factors like the level of physical and mental dependency, real-life commitments, and financial options, our psychiatrist will decide, alongside yourself, the best duration for you. Studies show that it is more beneficial to stay in rehab for a longer amount of time (4). Yet the most important part is starting the journey to recovery.
The Cost of Prescription Drug Rehab
Various factors influence the cost of prescription drug rehab. More luxurious facilities will be more expensive, as will centres in areas with higher standards of living. Amenities will also make a difference, depending on whether they offer the standard services or also extra extravagances like gourmet meals, alternative therapies, or sports facilities.
Some rehab centres are free on the NHS; however, due to high demand, you may have to delay your recovery for weeks or months before a consultation. Once you have decided to get help, it’s best to start rehab straight away, and so private clinics offer more immediate support.
The gains of rehab will always outweigh the financial costs. Prescription drugs take a drastic toll on your body and have both short and long term consequences on your wellbeing. Rehab is an investment into an addiction-free future with valuable benefits like a healthy body, a happier mind, and a safer and more positive self for you and your loved ones.
Buying prescription drugs illegally also puts an economic strain on your life, especially when you become dependent on the drugs. By dealing with your addiction through rehab, you will save money in the long run by not indulging in a financially straining and destructive habit.
Prescription Drug Rehab FAQ
(1) https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/05/fda-approves-first-medication-to-reduce-opioid-withdrawal-symptoms [Accessed 13 November 2019].
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/ [Accessed 13 November 2019].
(3) https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/opioid-testing/ [Accessed 13 November 2019].