Treatment for prescription drug abuse is, in many ways, similar to treatment for other types of drug addiction. Before successful treatment can begin, a person must first recognize and admit that an addiction exists. The exact treatment for prescription drug abuse will then depend on the individual, as well as the type of drug being abused. Typically, treatment will include some form of detoxification from the drug, as well as intensive therapy. Sometimes other drugs given in a controlled setting may be necessary to ease prescription drug addiction cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction to alcohol and other mind-altering substances is a neurological disease, but is one that can be cured with time and a thorough commitment to a treatment program. Beyond abstaining from a drug, treatment for prescription drug abuse includes equipping addicts with tools to cope with life off of drugs. This usually begins with individual therapy, but may also include group or family therapy if it will assist the addict in working on some of the underlying issues that led to addiction, as well as offering support in repairing damaged relationships that may have occurred as the result of addiction.
While it is not considered a treatment for prescription drug abuse alone, detoxification is a necessary part of an overall treatment strategy. This includes completely abstaining from the substance an individual is addicted to. Many addicts try detoxification alone, believing it is enough to cure an addiction, but detoxification is just the first step in treating drug abuse, as counseling and more intensive, long-term strategies are always necessary. In fact, addiction experts do not recommend that individuals addicted to benzodiazepines attempt withdrawal on their own without undergoing supervised medical treatment for prescription drug abuse, as withdrawal from benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium or Ativan, can be dangerous.
Treatment for prescription drug abuse will, at times, include pharmacological interventions to help free a person from physical drug dependency. This is particularly true for individuals who were addicted to opioids, such as codeine or morphine, which are commonly prescribed to treat pain. By a doctor administering a drug, such as naltrexone, to a person in prescription drug abuse treatment, the effects of opioid drugs are lessened. At the same time, this helps curve opioid cravings, as well as works to eliminate painful withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment for prescription drug abuse often includes a tapering off of drugs. By gradually decreasing dosages, withdrawal symptoms may be lessened, as well as the mental anxiety of being off of the drug may be lessened, too. With therapeutic supervision, a person may learn to gradually cope with life drug-free once again. Overall, treatment for prescription drug abuse takes time, patience and a staunch dedication to the process of stopping prescription medication abuse.