Going to Rehab for Prescription Drug Abuse: What to Expect

12 step meeting - group of people sitting in a circle

Whether you’re addicted to drugs that are illegal or to controlled substances, you need professional treatment to get into recovery. And if you are going to rehab for treatment for your prescription drug habit, it helps to know what to expect before you get there. You probably have a million questions: What will my treatment be like? Will I be able to take any kind of medication? What if it doesn’t work? Get your questions answered so you will be ready to do the hard work it takes to get into recovery.

Asking Questions So You Can Prepare

Many of your questions can only really be answered by the staff of the rehab program you will be attending. Before you head into rehab, make sure you speak with a program director so that you can ask all your questions. Also ask to talk to a former patient, someone who is now successfully in recovery. This person can give you the patient perspective on what to expect. Getting your questions answered will help you prepare in any number of ways for rehab, from knowing what to pack to understanding the rules and finding out how often family can visit.

Treating Addiction to Prescription Opioids

In general, the most effective treatment strategy for any kind of prescription addiction is to use a combination of therapeutic and medical techniques. The exact kind of treatment you can expect to get in rehab will depend on your particular addiction. If you are hooked on opioids or narcotic painkillers, there are a number of medications that can be used. Naltrexone, for instance, is a medication that blocks the effects of narcotics so that there is no temptation to use them. It also helps you feel better when you’re going through withdrawal. Another medication, called buprenorphine, helps to reduce cravings for opioids, which will give you a better chance of staying sober and focusing on therapy and counseling. 

Treating Addiction to Stimulants

Unfortunately there are no approved drugs that can treat addiction to stimulants like amphetamines and ADHD medications. If you are going to rehab for stimulant abuse, your treatment will be therapy-based. You will first detox from the stimulant, and although there is no medication to reduce withdrawal, you will be supported by medical staff to ease your symptoms. The rest of your stay will be all about therapy. You may participate in group therapy, individual counseling and family therapy sessions.

What Is Therapy Like?

One of the most common and effective types of therapy used in rehab is called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. With your therapist, you will learn to examine the connections between your thoughts, your emotions and your behaviors. You will learn to see these connections and how your thoughts and feelings make you behave in certain ways so you can focus on changing them to change your behaviors. Unlike traditional therapy, CBT is focused on problem-solving and setting goals. You will take steps to make real changes in your life so that you can live drug-free once you are done with rehab.

Rehab for prescription drug dependence can be a scary prospect if you don’t know what to expect. Asking questions and learning more about how you will be treated for your addiction empowers you to make the best choices about rehab and to be successful in your recovery. Learn all you can about what to expect and then pack your bag and get ready to make the most of the experience.

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