Prescription Rehab Information

Colorado Prescription Drug Addiction Rehab Information

Prescription drugs are seen by some as the gateway to other types of drug abuse, but they can be highly addicted in and of themselves. Prescription pain medicines, cough medicines, sedatives, tranquilizers, and even psychotropic drugs that are used to treat some mental illnesses all have a potential for abuse, and often, that abuse leads to addiction.

Recent studies show that Colorado ranks in the top three states in the nation for illicit drug use and that prescription opioid-related deaths outnumber that of alcohol, benzodiazepine, cocaine, and heroin.

Alarmingly, while deaths from some drugs (such as alcohol and cocaine) have decreased since the year 2000 according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, prescription drugs remain the biggest threat of all, showing more than double the rate of overdose right now than in the past 15 years. Even more frightening is the fact that prescription opioid and benzodiazepine-related hospitalizations are as high as 16.24% among young adults aged 14 – 20.

Effects of prescription drugs

Prescription drugs are ordered for you by your doctor and are prescribed for a specific medical purpose. Some are for long-term use and some are only meant to treat acute issues, and therefore not meant to be taken for a long period of time, or are only meant to be taken on an “as needed” basis.

Examples of drugs that would be prescribed for the short term or to use as-needed might include opioid pain medicine (such as oxycodone or hydrocodone), or tranquilizers such as Valium (diazepam) or Klonopin (clonazepam). When taken as directed, and only for the short period of time they are prescribed for, they are safe. When abused, overused, or taken beyond what has been prescribed, they can lead to serious physical addictions, which bring with them more agony, anguish, and difficulties than any other type of drug.

The symptoms of opioid pain or cough medicine abuse include:

  • Lethargy
  • Sleeping too much
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Excessive itching, especially around the face and nose
  • Incoherency
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Inability to maintain focus
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Loss of appetite except for sweets
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • And more

Intoxication from prescription tranquilizers or sedatives is also easy to detect:

  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Slurred speech
  • Excessive or sudden sleeping
  • Falling asleep at inopportune times

And while prescription opioids carry with them the threat of addiction, prolonged use of tranquilizers or sedatives can lead to permanent, irreversible damage, including:

  • Trembling and shaking uncontrollably
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Shuffling gait
  • Involuntary mouth movements
  • Muscle rigidity
  • And worse

Abuse of and addiction to psychotropic drugs is less common, but it does occur. This class of drugs is prescribed for a range of psychological disorders from anxiety and depression to psychosis and schizophrenia, and those who are affected to a more serious degree may be on them for the rest of their life.

Drugs that are commonly prescribed for depression are notoriously difficult to stop using as addiction takes hold very quickly. Once the patient has been taking them for a few months or more, discontinuing can be a very difficult, long process. For this reason, patients may choose to remain taking them for longer than they should, but with conscientious care it is possible to be free from symptoms and not have to go back to using the drug.

Young adults or teens that are experimenting with prescription drugs often obtain them from their family’s medicine cabinet or from a friend’s. Because it’s not likely that they know exactly what they are taking, it is possible that they are putting themselves in grave danger of overdose, drug toxicity, or even death due to an adverse reaction.

Am I addicted to prescription drugs?

Addiction to prescription drugs can be identified as a physical dependence, a psychological dependence, or a combination of both. With many prescription medications, addiction starts with psychological dependency and over time will become a physical addiction.

A psychological addiction is psychosomatic – meaning that the individual is continually drawn back to using, either to seek the feeling that the drug gives them, or to escape from trauma in their lives.

A physical addiction is one that causes physical symptoms if the drug is discontinued. The individual must continually seek another dose once the high has worn off, or they will begin to experience moderate to severe discomfort, depending on the level of addiction. Prescription opioid addiction is one such class of drugs that has very specific withdrawal symptoms.

It begins with a tolerance, which builds up over time. In each successive incidence of using, the individual will require more of it to obtain the same results. The more they take, the more they need, and so on, until they are past the point of no return.

Prescription opioids include:

  • Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet, Hycodan, Hycomine)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Codeine (Tylenol 2, 3, or 4, and also codeine sulfate)
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Methadone
  • And more

For many prescription opioid users, they are highly motivated to find the drugs just so they won’t have to experience the onset of withdrawal symptoms, which can be quite severe. These symptoms include:

  • Severe muscle and stomach cramping
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  • Headaches, migraine
  • Profuse sweating
  • Uncontrollable leg movements (kicking)
  • Insomnia
  • Widespread body pain, sometimes severe

While prescription opioids are the most commonly prescribed class of drugs when it comes to addiction, there are others. Prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are often sought out by addicts, and can be a big problem for some young people as they are commonly prescribed to children for ADHD and hyperactivity.

Prescription medications can be abused in various ways:

  • By taking someone else’s prescription
  • By taking the medication other than how it was prescribed, for example taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking the medication for the express purpose of getting high
  • Mixing the medication with other drugs or alcohol, a potentially dangerous activity

If you suspect that somebody you love is abusing prescription medications, you may be able to avoid a life-threatening situation by getting them the help they need.

Some signs that your teen or a young adult is abusing prescription medications include:

  • Bottles of pills going missing or severely depleted from the medicine cabinet
  • Out-of-character behavior that may include some of the symptoms outlined above
  • Drug-seeking behavior, such as feigning illness or pain
  • Valuable objects going missing in the house
  • A previously law-abiding young person who is suddenly in trouble with the police

These are some of the warning signs that your loved one may be headed for a full-blown addiction. While talking to them frankly will likely not help, seeking the assistance of a therapist who specializes in addictions in young adults can lead to healing. Through targeted therapy and counseling, it is possible to put addiction in the past.

Treatment Options in Colorado for Young Adults

If you or a young adult in your life is abusing prescription medication, help is close at hand. Peaks Recovery specializes in addiction treatment and rehab for young adults. Our facility is located in the beautiful, mountainous region of Colorado Springs, far away from the stress and the stressors that have contributed to the addiction and using behavior.

We emphasize age-specific, gender-specific and age-specific therapies, as they have proven to be more effective in establishing long-term recovery from addictions. Studies have shown age-specific therapy to reduce the stress and posturing that may occur in a mixed-age group. Without the distraction of the opposite sex, same-gender patients of a similar age are able to experience healing from addiction and go on to lead a rich and fulfilling life, clean and sober.

In the case of mixed-sex groups, there is always an underlying sexual tension, which is greatly amplified by the stressors of adolescence or young adulthood. The self-induced pressure to act or look a certain way in order to attract attention is removed and the young adults in treatment can more freely explore their feelings as well as the progression of their addiction.

Patients of a similar age are also better able to relate to each other, as they have shared similar life experiences as well as an awareness of current culture and the zeitgeist of their generation.

Life after rehab

One of our primary concerns at Peaks Recovery is that our patients are able to move on with their lives in sobriety. For this reason, we put an emphasis on learning life skills so that they are better able to succeed in life once they leave our care. This may include learning how to prepare a resume and interview successfully for a job. It may also involve living in a sober house as they transition back into “normal” life.

Since every case is unique, our treatment programs are tailored to the needs of the individual. It will consist of one-on-one as well as group therapy, as well as lots of physical activities to help them build confidence as they start to rediscover the joys life has to offer.

Prescription medication addiction rehab and treatment in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to prescription medications, Peaks Recovery can help. We offer age-specific, gender-specific and holistic addiction treatment that addresses physical addiction as well as the behavioral and emotional issues that come with it. Call today to find out more.