Prescription medication rehab
As prescription drugs are regulated and legally produced, they are often more potent than street drugs. This can mean that there is a much higher risk of overdose. People can easily access prescription drugs – their own, other people’s and illegally -and this, along with the fact that there are so many different types of prescription drugs, means that their abuse is likely to remain high.
One of the problems specific to prescription drug abuse is the fact that when they are taken over a long period of time, it can cause long term effects upon the brain. The brain has a very specific chemical balance. When this is altered it can cause the brain to stop producing natural substances like endorphins. These are in fact natural pain killers.
Another great problem with prescription drugs is that there is a wide range of drugs given with the intention of treating an illness or pain, which can then be abused. It can range from opiates such as Valium to ADHD medication like Ritalin. Each drug must therefore have a different detox process and must be treated differently.
One of the services which the Haynes Clinic offers on our prescription drug rehab programme is a detox, which is to slowly wean people off the medications which they have been abusing. This is important because when the chemical makeup of the brain is altered by prescription drugs, it can be very dangerous to simply stop taking the drug “cold turkey”, and it could have a number of effects including drastic changes in blood pressure and panic attacks – in fact some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with illegal street drugs such as heroin.
Prescription Drug Treatment at the Haynes Clinic
Detox from prescription medication
The conventional period of time for alcohol and drug rehab treatment is 28 days but it may well be that this is insufficient for a prescription medication rehab, as the detox may be considerably longer than for street or recreational drugs. The longest detoxes tend to be for abuse of benzodiazepines – valium / diazepam for example – and, depending on the level and length of use, the detox can be for 2 months or more. The detox for benzodiazepine can be more challenging and uncomfortable than for heroin! It is therefore essential that full disclosure is given prior to discussing the length of stay so that expectations can be managed and the treatment programme can tailored for individual needs.
The detox will be individually prescribed according to medical need.
Alongside the detox, the individual will be given counselling in order for them to understand why they have abused medication in this way and the harm it is doing. Some people will have been prescribed medication for legitimate reasons by their GP and just become dependent on it, building up a tolerance which has led them to need and use more and more. Others will have been using prescription medication as an alternative to recreational drugs – usually because it gives them the escapism they crave at a cheaper price. Whatever the reason, there will be something within the individual which means that the drugs at least at first gave them a good feeling – whether it was because they had low self-esteem, high anxiety levels or a low level of stress tolerance, for example.
Therapy is mainly in the form of group sessions but there are one to ones and individual goal setting. The clinic’s full programme is based on the Twelve Step Programme of recovery of total abstinence from all mood altering substances.
Aftercare and family support
Aftercare is also available once in patient treatment has ended and there is also private family support available (costed separately according to individual family need).