Prescription drug addiction is a brain disease that can be treated effectively. Treatment is determined by the type of drug used and the individual needs of the patient. Successful treatment for a prescription drug addiction incorporates several components, such as detoxification, counseling, as well as addiction medications. Some patients may require multiple treatments to fully recover.

Behavioral and Pharmacological Treatment

Behavioral and pharmacological treatment is most successful in the treatment of prescription drug addiction. Behavioral treatment will help the patient to stop drug use by  teaching them strategies and helping them to develop the skills needed to function without drugs, deal with cravings, avoid drugs and situations that could lead to drug use, and how to handle relapse if it should occur. These behavioral therapies often include individual counseling, group or family counseling, contingency management, and cognitive therapy. This form of treatment will also help patients improve their personal relationships and their ability to function at work and in the community. Pharmacological therapy helps to combat symptoms of withdrawal and craving so the patient can stay focused on other aspects of the treatment process. Research shows that a combined approach with these two therapies.

Treating Prescription Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction typically will involve both behavioral and pharmacological therapies (using medications including, naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine. Patients will go through an extensive treatment program including detoxification, individual counseling, group counseling, behavioral modification therapy and chemical dependency education.

  • Naltrexone is an antagonist medication that prevents opioids from activating their receptors.
  • Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist similar to methadone, it can reduce cravings and is well tolerated by patients.
  • Methadone helps to  reduce cravings and is well tolerated by patients.

Treating CNS Depressant Addiction

Patients addiction to CNS depressant, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, should not attempt to stop taking them on their own. Withdrawal symptoms associated with these prescription medications can cause serious health issues that could potentially be life threatening. Patients should undergo medically supervised detoxification where the medication dosage will be gradually tapered off. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as inpatient and outpatient therapies,  are very effective in the treatment of CNS depressant addiction.

Treating Stimulant Addiction

Treatment of addiction to prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Concerta, requires behavioral therapies. There are currently no medications that are FDA-approved for treating stimulant addiction. The first step in treating stimulant addiction is deotixifcation where the patient is tapered of the drug dosage in attempt to ease withdrawal symptoms. Using a variety of behavioral therapies, such as Contingency management which uses a system that enables patients to earn vouchers for drug-free urine tests.