Many people take prescription medications. It’s normal to be on a prescription medication after a surgery, when suffering from infections and when sick. Doctors weigh the benefits of antibiotics, pain medications, anxiety or depression drugs, and others to make sure that they’re the best choice for the patient at that time.
When a doctor sees a patient with an injury, for example, they may determine that treating the patient with opiate medications as well as muscle relaxants is necessary. However, if the patient takes these medications over a long period of time, there is a risk that they could become dependent on them. A physical or mental dependency is hard to break, because patients think they need a medication and the body reacts poorly when it doesn’t get it.
What are the treatment options for prescription drug addiction or dependency?
Depending on the type of medication that is causing the addiction, there are a few things that medical providers can do for their patients. The first step is to prepare the patients for coming off the medication through counseling. Licensed drug counselors can help them prepare for the possibility of withdrawal and what to expect. They can also help them with the emotional aspects of addiction, so that they can better cope while reducing the amount of the medication they take.
If the patient is taking opioid medications, then the medical provider must be cautious not to stop the medication completely right away. Instead, it’s best to taper the medication, which means that the dose gradually decreases over time. There are also other medications, such as buprenorphine, clonidine and naloxone, which can reduce the effects of withdrawal that can be caused by the reduction of opioids in the body.
For withdrawal from anti-anxiety medications, it can take weeks or months to taper off them effectively. It takes a long time for the body to adjust to lower dosages, so the best treatment plan considers this and reduces the amount you take gradually.
Sometimes, other medications are provided to stabilize your mood while tapering off the medication. Throughout this process, it’s essential to work closely with a medical provider who can decide if you’re moving too quickly or able to reduce the medication without further withdrawal effects.
Addiction is a mental and physical disease, so you must treat it like one. See a medical provider if you struggle with addiction.