According to a 2009 study, the abuse of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers has surpassed the abuse of heroin and cocaine. These drugs, called opioids, have been available for treating pain for decades; however, in the past 15 years there has been an upsurge in their abuse. Between 1999 and 2010, the number of deaths related to opioid use skyrocketed. The amount of painkillers prescribed in 2010 is enough to treat every adult in the United States for an entire month.
Public health officials are labeling the abuse of opioids as a national epidemic. Health care providers recognize the severity of the problem and struggle to balance the actual needs of their patients with the potential dangers of these medications. Some doctors have also been proactive in calling for new labels for opioids in order to help educate users of the medications who may not realize the danger they are courting should they choose to misuse or abuse these pills.
In response to the problem of opioid abuse, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is mandating that stronger warnings be placed on all narcotic pain medications. The FDA believes that the new labeling system will cause health care providers, along with their patients, to more seriously consider the ramifications of painkiller use.
Breaking Habits, Making Habits
Treating a person’s substance abuse problem goes beyond merely keeping them from using drugs or drinking alcohol. In order for a person to make a successful and long-term recovery, they need to break their habits associated with substance abuse. In addition to doing away with old habits, new habits should be established which could keep them on the path to recovery.
Due to the complexities of substance abuse, an integrated approach is needed to make this happen. Medications, group therapy, and individual counseling are all commonly used in treatment. One of the most effective forms of psychotherapeutic treatment utilized in the rehab setting is behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapies can help substance abusers in several ways, including:
- Recognition. In their sessions with their therapist, the individual explores the reasons behind their substance abuse as well as the thought patterns, perspectives, and ideas that may be generating or worsening problems in their day-to-day lives.
- Practical skills. Therapists teach the individual new skills for coping with cravings as well as the triggers that may make them want to drink or get high.
- Safe forum for exploration. As issues arise in the person’s life, behavioral therapy sessions provide a safe place for the patient to ask for help, explore options, and talk through outcomes when they implement their new coping skills.
Recovery as a Long-Term Investment
Investing in a treatment program can make an immense difference in the life of a substance abuser. In treatment, an individual can stop using drugs and alcohol immediately and learn how to live a life free from drug dependence. Your loved one’s journey to recovery can begin today. Call us at Axis now and learn more about how we can help.