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Prescription Drug Rehab

Prescription drug rehab centers specialize in providing effective treatment for people struggling to overcome a substance abuse disorder. The range of treatments available at prescription drug rehab clinics may involve medical detox programs, along with individual counseling, behavioral therapies, and group support therapy meetings.


In order to treat someone struggling to overcome an addiction to a prescription drug, rehab programs may combine several therapies designed to suit each individual person's needs. Tailoring each prescription drug rehab treatment program is intended to address the physical dependency on the substance, as well as treat the underlying psychological triggers behind the addictive behaviors.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Taking any form of medication in any way other than was prescribed by a doctor is classified as prescription drug abuse. Even if a doctor prescribes medication for personal use, taking higher doses than were prescribed is considered prescription drug abuse.

Likewise, taking drugs intended for another person or taking them for recreational purposes to get high or stoned is also considered prescription drug abuse.

Common Drugs of Abuse

Some of the most commonly abused prescription medications include:

Opiates:  Opiate medications are usually prescribed to treat pain and include such drugs as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), and fentanyl (Duragesic).

Sedatives: sedative drugs are also known as central nervous system depressants. The most commonly abused sedative medications include benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Ativan or Klonopin that are usually prescribed to treat anxiety or sleep disorders.

Stimulants:  stimulant medications are usually used to treat attention deficit disorder and include drugs such as Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

The individual signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse will differ, depending on a range of factors. It's important to take into account the type of drug being taken, the dosage being taken, the length of the dependency or addiction, and any underlying mental health disorders that may co-exist.

Common signs and symptoms to watch for include:

  • Taking higher doses than were prescribed
  • Hiding or 'losing' prescriptions in order to get more filled
  • Seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Erratic behavior or unexplained mood swings
  • Seeming to be unusually energetic or sedated
  • Drowsiness or slurred speech
  • Memory impairment and confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Needing to take higher doses to achieve the same effects

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person with a prescription drug abuse problem stops taking the medication suddenly, it's common for withdrawal symptoms to emerge. Some common withdrawal symptoms to watch for include:

Opiates: withdrawing from opiate medications can produce unpleasant symptoms that include runny nose, watery eyes, abdominal cramping, bone and muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, tremors, insomnia, fever, goose bumps, anxiety and depression.

Sedatives: stopping use of some sedative medications suddenly can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms that include heart palpitations, seizures, anxiety and panic attacks, memory problems, headaches, muscle pains, confusion,  and sleep disturbances.

Stimulants: withdrawing from stimulant medications produces symptoms that include extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, vivid dreams, mental fog, irritability, anxiety, deep depression, suicidal thoughts.

Treatment Methods for Prescription Drug Addiction

Treating an addiction to prescription drugs requires careful consideration of each person's individual circumstances. The type of treatment program used will depend on the type of drug being taken, along with a range of other factors.

People struggling to overcome an addiction to opioid painkiller medications may be given prescription treatment drugs to ease the worst of any withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment for sedative addiction may require medically supervised weaning off the drug of addiction, so the dosage being taken is tapered down slowly to avoid potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Intensive individual counseling and behavioral therapy is also incorporated into a treatment plan, no matter which type of prescription drug addiction is being taken. Counseling and behavioral therapies are designed to help the person identify their own personal addiction triggers, before working on solid relapse prevention strategies to avoid returning to a pattern of self-destructive behavior.