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Prescription Drug Addiction in South Dakota

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducted their annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2013 and found that approximately 21.5 million Americans aged 12 and older suffered from a substance abuse problem. Prescription drug abuse or the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is known as one of the leading causes of substance addiction in the United States. According to SAMHSA, South Dakota ranked in the top 10 states for the rate of illicit drug dependence for people aged 12-17.


Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction Defined

This type of substance abuse occurs when prescription drugs are consumed non-medically or not in the method that is prescribed. This can include the drug not being consumed in the prescribed method or if the prescribed dosage is not followed.  Many individuals who suffer from prescription drug addiction in South Dakota and neighboring states can be found seeking a prescription for the same medication from multiple doctors to fuel their drug habit. 

Addiction is a relapsing mental disorder that can be treated through rehabilitation programs available at drug treatment centers across South Dakota. Many people who suffer from prescription drug addiction in South Dakota as well as in other states are successfully treated annually by licensed addiction therapists and counselors across the U.S. Inpatient and outpatient programs are able to treat a patient’s addiction as well as other influences in their life such as social interactions that can affect their responsibilities at work or in school. These other factors often play a role in addiction by causing stress or emotional conflict between family members or partners. 

Prescription drug addiction is also caused by a body’s natural reaction to build a tolerance to a repeatedly consumed substance. An addict typically increases the dosage of the substance each time they consume it in order to feel the effects again. Relapse prevention techniques are taught to patients of treatment programs to help them obtain a lasting drug-free lifestyle. The relapse prevention techniques consist of skills to reduce stress and anxiety. Instances in which addicts are placed under a large amount of stress such as suffering the loss of someone close to them can often be a relapse trigger.


Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Sedatives: Sedatives are prescribed for anxiety, insomnia and stress disorders. Klonopin, Valium and Ativan are some of the most abused sedatives in the United States.

Opiates: Opiates such as morphine, OxyContin, Vicodin and codeine are generally prescribed for pain relief. Opiates have a very similar effect to that of the drug heroin that is one of the most abused types of drugs in America.

Stimulants: Medications such as Focalin, Concerta, Metadate and Ritalin are all highly successful at treating attention deficit disorder and other mental illnesses that have an effect on one’s ability to focus. Stimulants accounted for 21 percent of admissions to treatment centers in South Dakota. 


Symptoms of Drug Abuse

The general signs and symptoms of drug abuse are identical regardless of the substance abused. Drugs that have severe physical side effects may be more apparent in some addictions such as the sores on the skin of a methamphetamine addict. The general signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse can include a decline in appearance, decreased energy levels in stimulant abuse, increased energy levels in endorphin-releasing drugs, paranoia, aches and pains, lack of motivation and an inability to focus. 

It is also common for addicts to try to cover up their addiction so that partners or family members will not know it exists. This can lead to destructive behavior between loved ones, which is a common trait in long- and short-term addiction cases. Family and couples therapy is ideal in these instances because it is designed to treat the addict and strengthen relationships between loved ones.


What Causes Drugs to be Addictive?

Prescription drugs are made up of chemicals that have varying effects on the brain depending on which drug is consumed. These chemicals are able to imitate chemical messengers in the brain and overstimulate certain systems such as the reward system. If the reward system is overstimulated, the user experiences a feeling of euphoria. The act of someone abusing a substance to experience the feeling of euphoria is often referred to as “getting high.” In instances where stimulants are abused, depression is a commonly occurring side effect once the effects of the drug have worn off. This results in the addict abusing the substance to return to the “high.” 

Drugs are also known to cause a physical dependence in long-term abuse cases. The body and mind of an addict change over time and adapt to having the drug’s chemicals in their system. Patients who have a physical dependence on drugs are typically required to undergo a detoxification stage before treatment can begin.

What Are the Treatment Options?

There are a multitude of treatment programs available to addicts who are suffering from substance use disorder. Some of these include: 

Outpatient: Outpatient treatment programs tend to the patient’s treatment needs on a non-residential basis. Patients are typically required to attend the treatment center three to five days a week while attending local support groups to ensure maximum effectiveness of their treatment plan. Patients in outpatient rehabilitation are able to continue to tend to their daily duties such as school or work. This allows them the freedom to continue to build the skills they require for their return back to society as a drug-free individual.

Inpatient: Inpatient rehabilitation programs are designed to treat a patient while they reside at the inpatient treatment center in a supervised and therapeutic environment. The environment is also substance-regulated to ensure that the availability of drugs to patients is controlled. Inpatient treatment programs generally consist of therapy sessions with a licensed therapist or counselor while having the patient attend a 12-step program and other alternative treatments such as art therapy or chiropractic care. 

By using a drug treatment program with effective relapse prevention techniques, an addict greatly increases their chance of returning to society as a drug-free individual. Call or visit a treatment center today if you or someone you know is suffering from prescription drug addiction.