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Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment: Know Your Options

By Neha Kashyap
From medications to therapy, there are several treatments for prescription drug abuse available for you or a loved one.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most addictive prescription drugs are:

  • Opioids: Painkillers like oxycodone, codeine, and fentanyl.
  • Central nervous system, or CNS, depressants: Medications for anxiety and sleep that include benzodiazepines like Xanax and barbiturates like Luminal.
  • Stimulants: Medications that increase alertness, including Adderall and Ritalin, which are commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

When it comes to beating a prescription drug addiction, there are several treatment options available.

Detox Centers

Detoxification is the first stage of withdrawal or the process of clearing the body of a drug it’s dependent on. Withdrawal symptoms might include anxiety, chills, nausea, and rapid heart rate. At-home detox can be risky, and withdrawal symptoms could drive someone to use drugs compulsively. That’s where detox centers come in.

Donnie Sansom, DO, associate medical director of Sierra Tucson in Arizona, explains to WebMD Connect to Care that detox centers are medical facilities where specialists monitor patient withdrawal and provide medication to ease the symptoms. This is called medically assisted treatment, or MAT. MAT can be included in short-term detox or in long-term recovery. For example, MAT could mean slowly tapering off a central nervous system depressant to reduce seizure risk.

“This needs to be done in the greater context of treating any underlying anxiety with non-addictive choices coupled with psychotherapy,” Sansom says.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, opioid MAT can mean treating detox or undergoing drug replacement therapy where an addictive opioid is replaced by a less addictive drug to lessen cravings during recovery.

“MAT is not designed to be a stand-alone therapy,” Sansom advises. “Rather it is a part of a comprehensive care plan that includes individual and/or group therapy, 12-step support, and accountability with one’s healthcare provider.”

After detoxing, there are several ways to continue with your recovery.

Outpatient Recovery 

Outpatient addiction treatment means treating addiction without living in a treatment facility. This can include:

  • Therapy 
  • Support groups 
  • Getting a sponsor
  • Medication
  • Working with a social worker on issues like jobs or housing 

Outpatient recovery is less expensive and more convenient than inpatient treatment, but it might not benefit those who need to separate from their stressors. According to Sansom, your living environment, support network, and health history are some of what a specialist might consider when helping you map your recovery.

Inpatient Recovery

Inpatient addiction treatment, commonly known as rehab, means living in a treatment facility for at least 30 days. Rehab can include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Medication
  • Life skills counseling
  • Services like housing assistance

Inpatient recovery is a good option if you need to separate from your environment to get clean. Rehab can get expensive, but some centers provide scholarships, and there are also organizations that can help with the cost.

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, WebMD Connect to Care advisors are standing by to help.

Life After Treatment: General Information