Many people will automatically assume that a drug addiction means that the abuser is addicted to illegal substances such as cocaine or heroin. However, this is not always the case as prescription drug addictions are on the rise. These addictions are not as widely publicised as, say, the use of illegal drugs are, which leads to a lot of confusion surrounding the issue.
A prescription drug addiction is just as dangerous as any other drug addiction and is one that affects many people all over the world. There is a common misconception that just because a doctor prescribes a prescription drug they are harmless, and developing an addiction to them could not even be considered. Nevertheless, this information is false, and prescription drugs can be just as harmful as any illegal drug when abused.
Cathryn Kemp is a recovering prescription drug addict who knows the devastating effects of this addiction all too well. Thinking back to the lowest point of her addiction, she said, “I used to put suicide notes to my family under my pillow each night because I knew what I was doing could kill me. I was taking an amount that could have floored an elephant.”
Cathryn’s prescription drug addiction began when she was admitted to hospital with a painful case of pancreatitis. When she was discharged, she was given a prescription of eight fentanyl lozenges a day. Fast forward two years, the addiction had taken control, and it was not uncommon for her to be taking at least sixty pills a day. She experienced many intense withdrawal symptoms as a side effect of abusing the pills, including fierce muscle cramps, nausea, and even hallucinations.
Cathryn would plead with her doctor to continue with the prescription of large doses that had consequently led to her addiction. She explained, “I was displaying classic addict behaviour, hiding lozenges around my cottage in case I ran out. There was a strange dance between me and him [her doctor]. He knew very quickly I was an addict, and I knew he knew. I would shout and scream in his office. I would lie to him about pain attacks.” The doctor tried to support her by offering other forms of pain relief such as electro-acupuncture, but these did not work for Cathryn. Eventually, it came to the point where her GP simply refused to prescribe any more pills.
This was the point that everything changed for Cathryn. She decided that enough was enough and admitted herself to a rehab clinic. She described herself as ‘one of the lucky ones’ as she successfully overcame her addiction. Sadly, many people around the world are silently suffering from a prescription drug addiction as their doctors continually prescribe the drug in question, unaware of their patients’ addiction.
Public Health England spokesperson George Ryan has commented on the issue by saying, “GPs need to be educated about the risks of addiction to opioid painkillers – and that the drugs become ineffective when used long-term. When you’re running an hour behind, it’s very tempting to reach for the prescription pad. We have all done it.” He has pointed out that with such short appointment timeframes allocated by the NHS, it does not leave a large amount of time to discuss these issues in detail. This can lead to many individuals not saying anything at all, which ultimately allows their addiction to progress and continue with the detrimental effects on their lives and the lives of those around them.
The first step in almost every successful drug addiction treatment is detox, followed by a programme of rehabilitation. Detox involves eliminating the substance to which one is addicted from the body. In most cases, the patient will detox under the supervision of a medical professional in case anything goes wrong in regards to severe withdrawal symptoms. There are also detox facilities that provide around-the-clock support for those going through the process.
Once detox has been successfully completed, treatment can begin in earnest. Several factors go into determining which treatment clinic would be the most benefit to the affected individual. These include personal situation as well as the severity of the addiction. The two most common are inpatient and outpatient treatment clinics. Many people prefer to receive treatment in an inpatient facility as this means having 24/7 support from dedicated professionals. However, for many, outpatient treatment is the only way as they simply cannot afford the fees that come with an inpatient treatment clinic or they cannot dedicate the time required for inpatient treatment.
Here at UKAT.co.uk, we can assist with finding the most beneficial treatment clinic to suit your own personal requirements. We have many different treatment centres that have helped many people around the UK. Contact us today for any information on treatments or clinics that will help you get on that rewarding road to sobriety.
Source: How I got addicted to painkillers (New Scientist)
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