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Prescription Drug Rehab

Prescription drug addiction is a severe and pervasive issue that impacts individuals, families, and communities worldwide.

This insidious form of substance abuse arises when legally prescribed medications are misused or abused, leading to physical and psychological dependence. An effective prescription drug addiction treatment program is crucial in addressing this complex problem and promoting long-term recovery.


Understanding Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drugs are medications that require a doctor’s authorization before they can be obtained and consumed. Prescription opioids are intended to treat specific medical conditions or alleviate symptoms, often for pain relief, but they carry the potential for misuse and addiction. Other drugs commonly prescribed to treat sleep disorders also have high-risk factors when it comes to developing an addiction. Prescription drug addiction can develop when individuals use these prescription medications in ways other than prescribed, such as taking higher doses, combining them with other substances, or using them for non-medical purposes.

Why are Prescription Drugs Addictive?

Prescription drug use can create physical and psychological dependence, leading individuals to continue using them even when they become harmful. Many prescription drugs target the brain’s reward system, leading to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reinforcement. Over time, the brain can become reliant on these prescription drugs, making it challenging to stop using them without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Many individuals also begin using prescription drugs to treat chronic pain or to help with mental health disorders such as anxiety or ADHD, especially when they haven’t found any relief from over-the-counter drugs. This can lead to opioid addiction and make it easier for individuals to ignore the negative consequences.

Short-Term Effects of Abusing Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug addiction can have various short-term effects on an individual’s physical and mental well-being. Some common short-term effects that individuals who abuse prescription drugs may experience include drowsiness, impaired coordination, slurred speech, and confusion. Additionally, individuals may experience nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Psychologically, prescription drug abuse can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and depression.

Long-Term Effects of Prescription Drug Misuse

Prolonged prescription drug addiction can result in severe long-term consequences. Physically, individuals who abuse prescription drugs may experience organ damage, particularly to the liver and kidneys. Respiratory problems and an increased risk of infectious diseases are potential long-term effects. Mentally, chronic prescription drug abuse can alter brain chemistry, leading to cognitive impairment, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. Furthermore, prescription opioid addiction can strain personal relationships and negatively impact an individual’s social and professional life.

Prescription drug addiction can also lead to an overdose, especially when individuals find that the amount they are typically prescribed is no longer enough and begin taking increasingly high doses. As CNS depressants, opioids have high-risk factors for developing a mental and physical dependence, making it crucial to seek immediate care from medical professionals if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing a depressant or opioid overdose.


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Prescription Drug Abuse

Common Types of Prescription Drugs Abused

Several classes of prescription medicines are commonly abused, including opioid painkillers, stimulants, and central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Opioids, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, are often misused for their ability to produce euphoria and pain relief simultaneously, leading to addiction. Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are sometimes abused by individuals seeking increased energy, focus, or a “high.” CNS depressants, including benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium, can be misused for their sedative and anti-anxiety effects.

Whether an individual is abusing prescription stimulants for disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), prescription painkillers to address chronic pain, or using other prescription drugs to address depression or treat anxiety, it’s important to seek treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse can lead to addiction, a chronic brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences. Many individuals who misuse prescription medications develop a tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This can result in physical dependence, where the body adapts to the presence of the drug, causing withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped abruptly. Some signs and symptoms can indicate that an individual may be struggling with prescription opioid abuse. If you’re worried that you or a loved one may be developing opioid use disorder, look for these symptoms:

Physical Signs

Physical symptoms of prescription drug addiction may include fatigue, changes in sleep patterns, weight fluctuations, and deteriorating personal hygiene. Additionally, individuals may exhibit physical signs such as slurred speech, impaired coordination, and constricted or dilated pupils.

Psychological Signs

Psychological indicators of prescription drug abuse can involve mood swings, increased anxiety or depression, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Individuals may also experience memory lapses, paranoia, or a general lack of motivation.

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral changes can be a significant indicator of prescription drug addiction. These may include social withdrawal, secretive behavior, neglecting responsibilities, and engaging in risky activities. Additionally, individuals may exhibit a preoccupation with obtaining and using the substance, as well as engaging in drug-seeking behavior.

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Prescription Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

When individuals dependent on prescription drugs attempt to stop or reduce their usage, they may experience symptoms of withdrawal. The severity and duration of these symptoms can vary based on factors like the specific substance, dosage, and duration of use. Common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, sweating, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and tremors. In severe cases, seizures or delirium tremens (a potentially life-threatening condition involving confusion, hallucinations, and agitation) may occur.

Comprehensive Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Programs

Effective treatment for prescription drug addiction often involves a comprehensive approach that addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of the condition. Various treatment programs are available, including:


Detoxification, or detox, is often the first step in prescription drug addiction treatment. It involves medically supervised withdrawal from the prescription drugs to manage withdrawal safely. Detox programs provide a controlled environment to stabilize the individual before transitioning to further treatment for prescription opioids.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective approach to prescription drug abuse that combines approved medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. This approach can help manage symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal and cravings, increasing the chances of a successful recovery. Medications used in MAT for prescription drug addiction may include buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone, depending on the specific substance of abuse and individual needs.

Evidence-Based Therapies

Individuals at a prescription drug rehab center will also participate in evidence-based therapies, including individual and group therapy sessions. These therapies may include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, trauma-informed care, and holistic approaches. Individuals may also engage in family therapy sessions, art therapy, and educational workshops.

Dual Diagnosis Care

Individuals struggling with mental disorders and substance abuse may benefit from dual diagnosis care. When an individual has co-occurring disorders, treating both substance misuse and mental health issues simultaneously provides the best route to long-term recovery. It allows individuals to not only get sober but also address the underlying factors that may have been contributing to their addiction in the first place.

Aftercare Services

Prescription drug addiction treatment doesn’t end when an individual finishes an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Aftercare services provide ongoing support for individuals, which may include therapy, relapse prevention workshops, 12-step programs, and community involvement and support.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, also known as residential treatment, is a structured and intensive program in which individuals reside at the facility while undergoing treatment. This level of care offers a comprehensive approach, including individual and group therapy, educational sessions, and support services. Inpatient programs provide a safe and supportive environment, allowing individuals to focus solely on their recovery.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs offer a flexible and less intensive level of care for individuals who have completed higher levels of treatment or have less severe substance use disorders. Outpatient treatment typically involves individual and group counseling sessions, as well as ongoing support and monitoring. This level of care allows individuals to maintain their daily routines while receiving the necessary treatment and support for recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) offer a step-down level of care from inpatient treatment. Individuals attend treatment at the facility for several hours a day, multiple days a week, while residing at home or in a sober living environment. PHPs provide structured therapy, counseling, and support services while allowing for increased independence and the opportunity to practice coping skills in real-life situations.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are designed for individuals who require a higher level of care than traditional outpatient treatment but do not require inpatient or residential care. IOPs typically involve several hours of treatment per week, including individual and group therapy, educational sessions, and support services. This level of care allows individuals to continue with work, school, or family responsibilities while receiving comprehensive treatment.

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Resources for Prescription Drug Addiction

Individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs may find that a treatment program at a rehab facility is their best option for long-term recovery. There are multiple resources for finding a treatment center that is the best fit for your needs. Individuals can reach out to a local doctor or therapist for recommendations or look online for supportive care close to home.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides not only a wide range of educational and informational resources but also a treatment locator tool that allows individuals to search for treatment centers close to home. You can filter based on your location and treatment preferences for prescription and/or other drugs.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Individuals may also benefit from support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The support groups are based locally and can be found on the NA website. They are made up of a community of peers to create a supportive environment where individuals can share about their drug abuse without fear of judgment while also receiving support, accountability, and resources for long-term sobriety.

How Much Does Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment Cost?

The cost of treating prescription drug abuse will vary depending on multiple factors, including the severity and duration of drug abuse, the individual’s overall health, and whether they require dual diagnosis mental health care. Typically, individuals can expect inpatient care for prescription drug abuse to be more expensive than outpatient care due to the increased supervision and 24-hour care provided.

Health insurance providers may cover some or all of prescription drug addiction treatment. It’s important to check with your provider to find out what your benefits entail, as different policies may allow for different treatment options.

Reach out to our Massachusetts drug and alcohol rehab and let our team know your prescription drug addiction treatment needs. We are committed to affordable, accessible care and accept most public and private health insurance policies. We can help you navigate your benefits to make the most of your coverage. If you’re not insured, please reach out and let us know—we can explore alternative payment options together to get you the addiction care you need for prescription drug misuse.

Seeking Professional Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug addiction, it is crucial to seek professional help. Consult with healthcare professionals, addiction specialists, or treatment centers to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on the severity of the addiction, personal circumstances, and available resources.

At Forest Behavioral Health, we provide individualized treatment plans tailored to meet each person’s unique needs, ensuring they receive the support they need to overcome prescription drug abuse for good. If you are interested in learning more about our treatment programs, reach out to us via our secure, online form or give us a call at (781) 570-5781.

Remember, recovery from prescription drug addiction is possible with the proper support and comprehensive treatment approach. By addressing the underlying issues and providing the necessary tools and resources, individuals can regain control over their lives and achieve lasting sobriety.

emily thorndike - medical reviewer

Medically Reviewed by Emily Thorndike

Emily Thorndike, an accomplished LICSW in Massachusetts, has been a dedicated mental health professional since 2014. She has worked in various clinical settings, including inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community crisis intervention. As a trauma specialist with a particular focus on personality disorders, her diverse experience includes diagnostic assessments, case management, aftercare/treatment planning, and collaboration with various healthcare providers and patient support systems. Her educational background from Boston College, coupled with over eight years of experience at the renowned Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, underscores her commitment and proficiency in mental health care.

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Other Programs

Outpatient Program (OP)

The outpatient program at our rehab in Massachusetts is tailored to those who have completed higher levels of care or require a less intensive treatment approach due to their stage in recovery. During standard outpatient treatment, clients engage in therapy sessions once or twice a week, focusing on maintaining sobriety, strengthening coping mechanisms, and continuing personal growth in recovery. This flexible program is designed to support clients as they navigate the challenges of everyday life, providing ongoing support and resources while allowing them to fulfill their personal, professional, and family commitments. It’s an ideal solution for long-term recovery management, offering a supportive network and professional guidance as clients build a fulfilling, sober life.

Learn more about our standard outpatient program

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Our intensive outpatient program is designed for individuals who need more support than standard outpatient treatment but have a stable living situation that supports their recovery journey. An intensive outpatient program involves attending therapy sessions and group meetings several times a week, often during evenings or weekends, to accommodate work or school schedules. This level of care allows clients to integrate real-world experiences into their treatment, applying learned skills in daily life while maintaining a strong connection to support and guidance. The focus is on developing personal accountability, understanding the root causes of addiction, and building a sustainable recovery plan.

Learn more about our intensive outpatient program

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