The term ‘drug addiction’ is often associated with illegal substances such as heroin or cocaine, but the truth is that it is much more than that. It is also used to describe a pattern of prescription drug abuse that has a negative impact on the life of the user. However, the very idea of being classed as a drug addict or needing drug rehab is something that many people baulk at; particularly those who have never touched an illegal drug. The thoughts of where to go for drug rehab might be the furthest thing from their mind. It can, therefore, be up to the family members or friends to do the research and find out how to get help.
Does Your Loved One Have an Addiction?
It is difficult for most individuals to admit that their use of a particular substance has reached a stage where it could be classed as an addiction. It is even harder when that substance is a prescription medication taken to treat a genuine medical condition.
If your loved one has been using prescription medication and you have noticed a change in his or her behaviour, it is important to consider the fact that an addiction may have developed. There are certain signs that you should look out for that could signify a problem.
A change in behaviour and personality is usually the most obvious sign. Depending on the pill being taken, you might see that this person’s reaction times become slower, particularly if he or she is abusing a depressant or sedative drug. Your loved one might seem drowsy or be slurring when talking.
On the other hand, if the drug being abused is a stimulant, this individual might be irritable or agitated. He or she might also seem hyperactive and talkative.
You may also notice that your loved one is becoming withdrawn or isolated as he or she looks to hide the prescription use from you and everyone else. You could notice that he or she is demanding privacy where this was not an issue before and if you even raise the issue of a problem with medication, the person might become angry or defensive.
What often happens is that family members and friends notice the signs of addiction long before the addict does. The abuse of chemical substances can change the way a person’s brain works, making it harder for him or her to see the damage being done.
How Does a Prescription Drug Addiction Develop?
If you suspect your loved one has a problem, you might be wondering what you can do to help. But before you start looking for where to go for drug rehab, it might benefit you to learn a little bit more about prescription drug addiction and how it develops.
It is often difficult to tell when prescription drug use has progressed to abuse because most people do not know what abuse actually constitutes. They might assume, for example, that this is something that is done by those who are buying prescription drugs online to get high. While this is classed as abuse, it is not the only way in which these pills are abused.
Your loved one might have started off taking prescription medication under the advice of a GP. Most people assume that this is perfectly safe and carries no risk whatsoever. The truth is that many prescription drugs do cause side effects and can be harmful, particularly when abused.
What many individuals also do not realise is that taking more of the medication than advised to do so by a doctor is classed as abuse. As is taking the drugs at increasingly regular intervals or taking medication that was prescribed for another person. But how does a prescription drug addiction develop?
Prescription medication is usually prescribed for short-term use, especially if it has the potential to be abused and to cause addiction. Some medications can quickly cause a tolerance to build up, which means that the brain adjusts to the presence of the chemicals and in response releases fewer of its own natural feel-good or dopamine chemicals. The net effect of this is that the person using the medication will not feel the same effects from the drugs as before.
When this happens, many people’s automatic reaction is to increase their dosage, and most do this without consulting their doctor. As well as being harmful to health, upping the dose without being advised to do so by a medical professional can increase the risk of a physical dependence and addiction.
The more of the medication that is taken, the more likely it is that a physical dependence will develop and that withdrawal symptoms will occur when the effects of the medication wear off. This is typically what happens when an addiction develops.
Getting Help for a Loved One
If your loved one is finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that his or her prescription medication use is spiralling out of control, it may be up to you to find out where to go for drug rehab and to put a plan in place for when this person is ready to accept help.
There are many different options when it comes to treatment for addiction here in the UK. Your first port of call might be your GP, who can provide information about the treatment programmes that are available on the NHS. You may also find that there are charity organisations operating in and around your local area where your loved one can avail of free outpatient care.
Your other alternative is a private clinic where the addicted individual can access a residential programme. Private programmes are not free however and must be funded by the addict or his or her family members. In some instances, government funding may be available.
Encouraging Your Loved One to Accept Help
While finding out where to go for drug rehab is important, you will also need to focus your efforts on getting your loved one to accept help. This can be a struggle, particularly when the person is refusing to admit that the problem actually exists.
It is often the case that a family intervention is required. You might need to consider this option if you are struggling to get the affected individual to accept help.
A family intervention is a process that involves a group of family members and friends meeting with the addicted individual to discuss the illness and the effect it is having on all involved. If your loved one’s addiction has been negatively affecting his or her life as well as the lives of others, a family intervention can be a successful endeavour.
Most interventions end in success with the addict accepting the need for help. If this is the outcome of your intervention, it would make sense to have some treatment options already in place. When you know where to go for drug rehab, you can present the treatment options to your addicted loved one while the idea of treatment is still fresh in his or her mind. If you do not have any options ready, you will have to go away and research, which will give the addicted individual plenty of time to change his or her mind.
If you would like more information on how to get a loved one to accept help for addiction, or if you would like to know more about the treatment programmes we offer here at Banbury Lodge, please get in touch with us today.
Our helplines are staffed by friendly advisors with knowledge of all types of addiction. All are fully trained to spot the signs of addiction and will discuss your situation in detail, asking questions about your loved one that will help you to decide if and what treatment programme is required. Call for more information on how we can help.