When we think of addiction, most of us will think about drugs like heroin or the most commonly used substances like tobacco and alcohol. Far less emphasis is placed on the pharmaceutical world, where many drugs that are prescribed to treat extreme pain transpire to addict the individual, leading to a slow decline in their ability to manage their lives. The statistics across the world, and in the US specifically are shocking, and the vulnerability of all kinds of people may be the most shocking of all. Here’s how you can deal with this insipid and lurking form of addiction.
1. Recognize the Problem
Whether in yourself or with a friend or a member of your family, you should first focus on ascertaining the scale of the problem. How long has this been going on for, and are you really addicted, reliant and unable to stop using these drugs? If so, you’ve got a problem, and it needs to be dealt with promptly.
2. Share the Problem
Let’s say you’ve decided that an aunt of yours who took painkillers after a fall is addicted to the drugs she was prescribed. You and your aunt have agreed that something needs to happen. You should start involving other members of the family in the process of recovery, helping build the strongest-possible support structure to make your aunt as comfortable as possible during the withdrawal process to come.
3. Plan to Solve the Problem
Once you’ve assembled your team of supportive individuals close to the affected person, it’s time to start planning for solutions. You should see your family doctor and read about recovery programs online to start preparing the addicted individual for the realities of what they’re going to have to go through. With good plans come good results; give everyone a role in the recovery process, and keep bound together as a team.
4. Enter Recovery
The biggest single phase in this whole process is to enter the individual into recovery. Addiction to prescription drugs is no joke (they’re often opioids, a derivative of heroin), and so the withdrawal phase can be drawn out and distinctly uncomfortable. The first stage is to get over this withdrawal. It can take a few days or even weeks to feel less reliant upon the drugs. Then, the psychology of the affected individual also has to change, and they need to understand why their addiction developed, and how not to repeat it.
5. Replacement Drugs
Finally, it’s important to note that many of the people in the world who are addicted to pharmaceutical drugs have reached this point because they were prescribed them for pain. Finding replacement or alternative sources of pain relief, avoiding the most addictive pills, is something you and your family or friends should help enact alongside the actual recovery process to cement in place the full recovery and painless transition of your loved one into a position well outside of devastating addiction.
The addiction phenomenon related to prescription drugs is shocking but manageable. Follow the steps outlined above to ensure that you’re doing all you can to help the individual you know to be suffering.