Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Alternatives to Prescription Drugs after Rehab

Alternatives to Prescription Drugs after RehabThere are hundreds of medications that fight pain, mental distress, sleep disorders and a number of other legitimate health concerns. Unfortunately, many of the most effective medications carry with them a high risk of addiction. Millions of people have found themselves in the trap of chemical dependency.

With the professional rehab expertise offered at caring, high-quality treatment centers, many addicts will find lasting freedom from the disease of addiction. The disease is never fully cured, however, and returning to prescription drugs even long after recovery can present a real risk of relapse.

How Prescription Drug Addiction Works

Most habit-forming drugs replace natural chemicals in the brain. When the user quits taking a drug, she will experience potentially severe withdrawal symptoms until her body re-establishes its natural chemical balance. These effects of physical addiction usually last a few days, but in some advanced cases may last for over a week. The lingering power of addiction, however, is in the psychological ability to direct behavior. The reward center of the brain is most affected by drug abuse. It manages a variety of psychological functions including the following:

  • Emotional control
  • The formation of behaviors and habits
  • The ability to resist impulses
  • The formation and recollection of memories
  • Managing stress and anxiety

These functions operate on a deeper and more powerful level than rational thought or willpower. Over time addiction creates new neural pathways, the channels through the brain that drive emotional response and behavior, that will guide the addict to whatever thoughts or actions are necessary to keep the supply of the drug coming. Even someone who is determined to get clean will need outside help in order to stay clean. Psychological addiction can take months, years or even a lifetime to fully master.

Avoiding Prescription Drug Relapse

Because the brain never fully removes the destructive neural pathways created by addiction, there is always a risk of relapse if a person takes even a small amount of the drug that he was formally addicted to. A person who is addicted to narcotic painkillers will always be at risk for relapse if he takes narcotics again. Thus, it is crucial that recovering addicts always disclose their entire history with substance abuse and addiction to any doctors that treat them. In many cases doctors can choose alternative, non-addictive medications if they know about the disease.

Most addicts suffer from co-occurring emotional or psychological disorders alongside their addiction. Fully integrated treatment address all aspects of a patient’s mental and physical health and is the most likely option to lead to lasting recovery for these patients.

Help Staying off Prescription Drugs

If you are a recovering prescription drug addict and are afraid of relapse, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline any time. We can help you maintain your recovery by answering any questions you may have and by connecting you with the world’s best and most effective addiction treatment centers. Don’t risk a full-blown relapse into addiction. Call today and let us help you stay clean.

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