Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in Canada, particularly among youth. Non-medical use of prescription drugs is dangerous for everyone, but teens are particularly vulnerable to its effects because their bodies and minds are undergoing rapid transformations. Prescription drug addiction can lead to irreversible damage. These effects are often underestimated because of a widespread perception that prescription drugs are safe because they are legal. But prescription drugs require a prescription precisely because of their capacity to harm users, and they are now one of the leading causes of drug overdoses.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a prescription drug addiction, Toronto Addiction Centres can refer you to a rehab facility that can help you take charge of your life.
Two Paths to Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs offer two paths to addiction. Some users develop a habit after stealing a loved one’s prescription for recreational use, or by self-prescribing a drug they think they need. For instance, a college student who can’t afford an appointment with a psychiatrist might self-diagnose himself with ADHD, and then buy a friend’s prescription to Adderall.
Other addicts develop a prescription drug dependence after obtaining a valid medical prescription. Even the most meticulous of doctors can have a hard time monitoring a patient’s use of prescription drugs and checking for the warning signs of addiction. This problem is compounded when the drug is prescribed for daily use over a period of several months or more. Addiction is simply a physical dependency that grows out of long-term use, so even the most cautious use of prescription drugs can land you in trouble. For this reason, we advise our clients to take prescription drugs for the shortest possible period, and to only take drugs they absolutely need.
It doesn’t matter which path you took toward addiction. Once you’re an addict, the addiction feels exactly the same, whether you’re a prescription user or a recreational one. When addiction sets in, you need professional help. You can’t will an addiction away, no matter how much you might like to.
Why Prescription Drug Addiction is Different
If you’re a recreational user of prescription drugs, your recovery journey will be virtually identical to that of someone recovering from addiction to any other drug. If you developed an addiction to prescription drugs after receiving a prescription, though, the recovery journey is a bit different.
Prescription addicts may need assistance managing the medical condition for which the drug was prescribed. If you struggle with chronic pain, you might need help treating the underlying condition or finding less addictive ways to manage your pain. If you have a mental illness, you might benefit from therapy, psychoeducation, or support groups (see dual diagnosis). No matter why you initially took prescription drugs, the goal of any good recovery program should be to treat not only the addiction, but the circumstances that led to it.
Recovering From Prescription Drug Addiction
Recovery from prescription drug addiction usually begins with a period of detox. If the drug was legitimately prescribed for a medical condition, alternative treatment methods may be prescribed. Once detox is over, the real work of sobriety begins. Addiction is a disease that cannot be cured – you can simply manage its symptoms. For this reason, you will need to avoid addictive drugs for the rest of your life. We will refer you to an addiction treatment facility that has programs suited to you. You will be able to get the help you need to master the coping skills that can enable you to live your life without needing drugs.
Addiction to Prescription Drugs
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription Drug Abuse in Ontario
Drug Facts: Prescription Drugs & Cold Medicines
WebMD: Prescription Drug Abuse