Why People Relapse Into Prescription Drug Abuse
There are countless prescription medications available today. Prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin provide immense relief and improve the quality of life for people who are suffering from chronic pain conditions or who are experiencing significant pain as the result of an injury or medical procedure.
Stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin provide individuals who are suffering from things such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy with the help they need in order to continue functioning appropriately each day. Benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, Xanax, and Ativan serve to alleviate the symptoms of conditions like anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, and seizures, ultimately providing individuals who are suffering from such with the assistance they need in order to achieve overall wellness.
Yet, while all of these medications serve a very specific purpose and can be immensely beneficial in improving the lives of those who are suffering from various medical and mental health concerns, they also possess addictive properties that can force individuals into the devastating cycle of prescription drug abuse and addiction.
Some individuals may receive prescriptions for certain medications in order to treat legitimate medical concerns, but the pleasurable effects that these medications can elicit the potential to cause those people to begin taking the medications outside of the prescribed guidelines. Other individuals do not have a medical necessity to take these substances and may begin to abuse them due simply to the fact that they can bring about such pleasant side effects.
Regardless of the precipitating factors, once an addiction to a prescription drug has developed, it can be exceedingly difficult for individuals to overcome. For this reason and more, those who are battling these types of addictions and choose to get professional help should be encouraged for their bravery and have their successes celebrated.
However, even when a person does engage in treatment, it does not mean that his or her struggle with addiction is over. Unfortunately, the nature of addiction makes it something that individuals often have to confront each day. Because of this fact, when a person receives treatment for his or her addiction to prescription medications, his or her treatment provider should arm him or her with options for continuing care services so that he or she can have the best chance of sustaining sobriety upon leaving the treatment setting. When such continuing care services are not offered or are not taken advantage of by the person in recovery, the result could be a relapse into prescription drug abuse.
A relapse occurs when a person has achieved sobriety, remains sober for a period of time, but then succumbs to using his or her substance choice once again. Relapsing is a common occurrence among those in recovery and can stem from any number of circumstances.
Examples of the many reasons why some individuals relapse can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Opting to not engage in aftercare services upon completion of treatment
- Suffering from a traumatic experience
- Experiencing a divorce, separation, or loss of another type of important relationship
- Losing a loved one
- Experiencing significant stress in one’s day-to-day life
- Suffering from the symptoms of a mental health condition
- Associating with other individuals who are abusing prescription drugs or other types of substances
- Adhering to the belief that one can consume prescription medications again and be able to stop without a problem
How to Prevent Relapse Into Prescription Drug Addiction
For those who are in recovery for an addiction to prescription medications, the unfortunate reality is that he or she cannot completely shelter him or herself from exposure to these types of substances. As such, it is important that these individuals make a conscious effort to remain vigilant about their sobriety and take active steps towards preventing a relapse.
Examples of various things that people can do in an attempt to prevent relapsing are outlined briefly in the following:
- During your time in treatment, work closely with the professionals in the program to gain an understanding of the aftercare options that are available to you once you have completed treatment.
- If the treatment center where you received care did not provide you with a thorough discharge plan, seek guidance from another mental health or addiction professional.
- Inquire about support groups within your community, such as those offered through Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Make every effort to attend the group meetings regularly.
- Seek out the assistance of a sponsor with whom you feel comfortable discussing your situation. Remain in frequent contact with him or her, and do not hesitate to reach out when you are feeling especially vulnerable to temptation.
- Avoid spending time with people who abuse prescription medications or any other type of substance.
- Avoid putting yourself in situations where you know that you will be tempted to use.
- If you develop symptoms of a mental health or medical condition that require medicinal intervention, openly share your history of addiction with your treatment provider. He or she should be able to provide you with alternative options. Or, if alternative options are not available, he or she can work closely with you to monitor your consumption.
Should a relapse occur, do not feel defeated. View it as a way to re-commit yourself to your sobriety and allow it to make it stronger.
If you have any questions about addiction treatment, relapse prevention, or continuing care services, please do not hesitate to contact Wilmington Treatment Center. Our dedicated and caring professionals are on hand to help you achieve and maintain the happy, healthy, drug-free life that you deserve to be living.