Prescription Drug Abuse

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Alta Mira is staffed with people who are caring, responsive and extremely competent. I leave Alta Mira with a profound sense of gratitude and renewed hope for the future.

Brian G.
Alta Mira Alumnus
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Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse

If you are like most of our clients who are treated for prescription drug addiction, you probably began using your prescribed medication without any intention of becoming dependent on it. Over time however, the line between use and abuse has become unclear. Certain prescription drugs carry a greater potential for abuse, especially those that produce a “high” or other pleasant physical sensation, relieve pain, or lessen difficult emotions. If you are concerned that you (or a loved one) may have crossed the line from intended use into prescription drug abuse, we can help.

The fact that most prescription drugs can be obtained with relative ease, either legally or illicitly, can contribute to ongoing denial about the reality of an addiction. This fact can also make it more difficult for friends, family members and co-workers to recognize a problem has developed. After all, it was “prescribed by a doctor.”

Here are some signs that intended prescription drug use has developed into prescription drug abuse:

  • Increase in frequency of dosage or amount of medication taken in a dose
  • Anxiety when prescriptions are running low
  • Online medication purchases, particularly from foreign pharmacies
  • Stealing (or the urge to steal) prescription pads or medications
  • Medications prescribed to another person or fictitious name
  • Multiple prescriptions for the same medication from different doctors
  • Secretive demeanor regarding prescriptions
  • Prolonged prescription courses for transient or healed conditions
  • Incurring debt, stealing or borrowing money to finance prescriptions

Admitting that you have a problem with prescription drug abuse is not easy for anyone. Most people who call us are filled with fear and shame. They want to be free of the addiction, but fear what life will be like without the medication. Many are concerned that their prescription drug abuse is a sign of weakness and are afraid of admitting the problem. Others want help but can’t envision taking an extended time away from their responsibilities at home and work.

Please know that we help people everyday who have these same concerns about seeking prescription drug abuse treatment. We understand what you’re going through and can help you find a solution to each of your concerns. Continue reading below to learn what to expect during treatment at Alta Mira.

Getting to the right diagnosis brought me comfort, knowledge, and a clear path forward. I am forever grateful.
- Michelle W., Alta Mira Alumna

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

At Alta Mira, we have treated virtually every kind of prescription drug abuse. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include:

  • Opiates, including most prescription painkillers (such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet) are highly addictive and frequently prescribed after a medical procedure or for people managing chronic pain.
  • Prescription stimulants (such as Adderall, Ritalin and Dexedrine) are used to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy, attention deficit disorders, and some neurological conditions.
  • Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan) are highly addictive drugs commonly prescribed for anxiety and dissociative disorders.
  • Nonbenzodiazepines (such as Ambien and Lunesta, and also referred to as Z-drugs) are tranquilizers often prescribed for sleep disorders, but can become addictive when taken improperly or for prolonged periods of time.
  • Methadone and Suboxone, designed to help people opiate addicts overcome cravings, can become addictive and highly dangerous when taken improperly.

Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment at Alta Mira

The first step in your prescription drug abuse treatment is admitting that the problem exists. As soon as you make that critical move, we can begin providing you with the most advanced treatment available.
Treatment has three main stages:

Detoxification (detox): Many people avoid treatment because they fear detox. At Alta Mira, our medically-supervised detox provides you with 24/7 supervision by detox specialists, medication to calm and comfort your body during the transition, and a beautiful private room in the detox wing of our historic hotel. Our medical staff will determine how long you need to stay in detox, but most residents are able to move on after 3 to 5 days.

Residential Treatment: After detox, you will begin your daily schedule of individual and group therapy, holistic treatments, educational classes, and peer support groups. You will also begin our extensive diagnostic testing and evaluation process to determine what physical and mental health issues (referred to as co-occurring disorders) exist along with addiction. We customize our treatment for each client and consult with any specialist necessary to meet your needs. For example, if your prescription drug addiction relates to chronic pain, we will develop a treatment plan that teaches you recovery skills while helping you manage pain in a more sustainable manner. This may include such options as physical therapy, holistic therapies such as massage and acupuncture, medication management, peer support, exercise, nutrition, yoga, meditation, and stress reduction.

Maintenance of sobriety: Through our Continuing Care program, we ensure that you are set up for long-term success after your residential care. Developed in collaboration with your doctors and therapists at home (when you choose to have their input), we will develop an integrated aftercare plan that addresses both your recovery goals and any underlying mental and physical health conditions that need ongoing care. In addition, you will have access to free weekly alumni support groups, as well as the opportunity to join our 12-week Intensive Outpatient Program. Any loved ones you want to include in your treatment process will learn how to best support your recovery at home through our intensive family program. And we will help you identify a positive peer support network in your hometown.

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