According to a recent study conducted by USA Today, tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, medical technicians and other healthcare professionals across the nation struggle with abuse or addiction to prescription pain medication, mostly narcotics such as oxycodone and fentanyl. The study uncovered hundreds of state and federal cases in recent years in which physicians and other healthcare practitioners were disciplined or prosecuted for misconduct related to substance abuse.
The risk of pain medication abuse is just as dangerous to healthcare practitioners as it is for the general population, if not greater due to their access to opiates. This accessibility, in combination with a person who is genetically predisposed to addiction, can create dangerous conditions. Drug addiction is not only a breach of professional ethics, but can affect the reputations of the facilities where healthcare practitioners work.
Prescription Drug Addictions We Treat
At PSI, we treat all types of prescription drug addictions. Common prescription drugs abused include:
- Opioid pain killers
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 92 million adults (roughly 1 in 3 people in the U.S.) are prescribed prescription opioid medication and nearly 11.5 million people obtain opioid prescriptions illegally. The rise in prescription drug abuse has become a national epidemic and more and more people need treatment than ever before.
Common types of opioids abused include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Roxiprin, Roxicet)
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
How Does Someone Become Addicted to Prescription Drugs?
So, how does a healthcare professional become addicted to the same drugs they are prescribing to their patients? Needless to say, medical careers such as that of nursing require long, intense hours, often with mandatory overtime and shift rotation, which are physically demanding and tough on family life and friendships. Like many individuals who become addicted to pain medication, all it takes is one script to alleviate pain from an injury, surgical procedure or mental illness. The relief is instant and often very pleasurable and soon enough the individual may ask doctors to write a prescription for them, or forge prescriptions themselves. Some addicted healthcare practitioners have been known to divert drugs by administering administering a partial dose to a patient and saving the rest of the drug for themselves.
Opioid Addiction Signs and Symptoms
Like many other types of drugs, when a person takes an opioid pill, the brain’s reward center is greatly impacted. The brain becomes flooded with dopamine, and over time as drug use continues, the brain’s chemistry changes and becomes altered, forming an addiction. Many discover that the amount of prescription medication that had previously relieved their pain does not work as well anymore. As a tolerance builds, maintaining the same pleasurable feelings requires more and more pills, raising many health concerns including the possibility of overdose. Individuals who become dependent on opioids find themselves overcome by cravings as uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms set in. Their dependence may progress into a full-blown addiction where their lives become consumed with finding and using drugs—putting their families, careers as well as physical and mental health in serious jeopardy.
If you or a loved one is in danger of developing an opioid addiction, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with opioid abuse. Prescription drug abuse symptoms include:
- Changes in behavior, such as elation and euphoria
- Noticeable lethargy, drowsiness or sedation
- Moodiness or irritability
- Smaller than usual or constricted pupils
- Confusion for no apparent reason
- Slowed breathing
- Sudden onset of financial problems
- Obtaining multiple prescriptions from different physicians
- Social isolation or losing interest in activities previously enjoyed
Prescription Drug Abuse Effects: Short and Long-Term
There are a variety of short-term and long-term side effects that can occur as a result of prescription drug abuse.
Short-term prescription drug abuse side effects and withdrawal symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hearing loss
- Stomach problems such as constipation
- Hot flashes
- Impaired cognitive functioning
- Opioid-induced hyperalgesia (heightened sensitivity to pain)
- Stopped or slowed breathing
- Loss of consciousness or nodding off
Long-term effects of prescription drug abuse can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening. Long-term effects of prescription drug abuse include:
- Respiratory failure
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Muscle weakness
- Brain damage
- Abdominal distention
Our Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment Process
Early intervention is necessary to treat an addiction to pain medication. As a chronic, progressive and treatable disease, addiction can be overcome with the right multidisciplinary treatment and expert care. PSI, one of the best prescription drug and substance abuse rehabs in Chicago, provides the proper balance of addiction rehabilitation including therapy, support groups, 12-step program and works intimately with healthcare professionals, salvaging licenses, careers, relationships and futures by offering prescription drug abuse solutions.
Our approach to treating prescription drug addiction is incredibly comprehensive, addressing the unique needs of each individual patient that enters our care. We begin by conducting an in-depth psychiatric evaluation, which helps us to determine whether or not a mental health disorder or other condition that requires treatment is present. In some cases, people will suffer from a mental health issue in addition to their addiction to pain medications. When this occurs, the individual is diagnosed as having a co-occurring, or dual disorder. These cases are complex, and require a specialized treatment plan. It is crucial that patients receive the care they need for both their addiction and their mental health disorder in order to maintain long-term sobriety. As Illinois’ top prescription drug rehab, we work to gather the important information on a patient’s history of addiction, substance(s) abused, psychiatric, medical, social, and developmental history and more. This subsequently provides us with a broad perspective of a recovery patient’s life and personality, and informs us of how best to proceed with treatment.
Also critical to our process is pain pill addiction counseling. Extensive research has shown that counseling is crucial for achieving and maintaining sobriety. For this reason, it is heavily incorporated into our treatment plans at PSI’s Illinois rehab center. Through the use of behavioral and cognitive therapies, our staff of psychiatrists, family therapists and addiction counselors can better help individuals overcome their addiction to pain medications. We work to replace those harmful and destructive behaviors with positive thinking and healthy actions that promote a stable and productive life.
PSI Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment Programs
One of the biggest challenges in determining where to receive treatment for an addiction to pain pills is finding a treatment center that fits your unique needs and lifestyle. In order to combat this challenge, PSI, one of Chicago’s leading prescription drug rehab centers, offers a wide variety of programs, structured to seamlessly integrate into all schedules and availabilities.
- Outpatient: For some recovery patients, intensive outpatient treatment is more appropriate given their unique case of prescription drug addiction. Through the use of education, counseling, and support, we help patients learn how to resist and overcome temptation, and remain motivated in staying sober. Those in our intensive outpatient program are assigned a counselor, with whom they work to develop an individualized treatment plan.
- Partial Hospitalization: Some patients may find that a partial hospitalization program provides the care they need. The goal of this program is to prepare patients with the tools they need to transition to a less intensive outpatient program, and to help them develop relapse prevention skills. In our partial hospitalization program, we use group and individual therapies, life skills training, addiction education and more, to set recovering individuals on the right track towards a happy and healthy life.
Why PSI is Successful at Opioid Addiction Treatment
PSI is helping to lead the way in prescription drug and opioid abuse treatment. As one of the premier prescription drug rehabs in the Chicago area, we use proven recovery models combined with a neuroscience driven approach and the latest holistic therapies. PSI medical and addiction experts create individualized treatment plans that consider the day-to-day lives of working professionals who are trying to balance the demands of their personal and professional responsibilities.
Our evidence-based treatment programs offer the best possible outcomes for those suffering from a prescription drug addiction in a discreet, compassionate and supportive environment. At PSI, we understand that everyone’s experience with prescription drug addiction is unique, and we ensure that all of your personal and recovery needs are met after entering our prescription drug rehab program. We offer a continuum of care with all the tools and resources necessary to ensure lasting sobriety.
Our prescription drug abuse treatment includes:
- Comprehensive addiction assessment
- Assessment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- Integrated medical management and care
- Evaluation for trauma
- Individual and group therapy
- Family therapy groups
- Exposure to the 12-step program
- Life skills training
- Nutritional therapy
- Holistic therapy (including meditation, exercise and yoga)
- Continuing care and relapse prevention strategies
At PSI, we recognize that patients are most successful in achieving and maintaining sobriety when their loved ones are involved in the recovery process. It is for this reason that we’ve developed our Family Program, which consists of lectures and experiential exercises built to help family members gain a better understanding of their loved one’s addiction to pain medication and how they can be a source of support during treatment and beyond.
Dr. Dan Angres and his team at PSI are highly trained to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary treatment to those suffering from an addiction to pain medication. For decades, we’ve helped individuals addicted to pain pills by offering ongoing, support post-treatment as well, therefore encouraging long-term recovery and sobriety. Treatment at PSI is multifaceted, prioritizing self-awareness and the cultivation of a program of well-being.