Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment in New Jersey - Garden State Treatment Center

Prescription drugs like painkillers and mental health medications have a serious potential for misuse and addiction. This is a widespread issue not only in New Jersey but all across the nation.

But despite how challenging it can be, treating prescription drug abuse is quite possible under professional guidance and careful medical supervision.

In today’s guide, we’ll take a quick look at some of the evidence-based treatment programs used to treat drug use disorders to achieve a healthy and safe recovery.

How Does Prescription Drug Addiction Develop?

People often think prescription drugs are safe because they’re prescribed by doctors. But even though they’re approved for medical purposes, they can still be highly addictive.

The technique by which these drugs cause addiction can vary, but many of them share the same concept that leads to abuse and addiction.

This typically starts with these drug’s ability to affect the chemical balance of neurotransmitters – the brain’s natural chemicals.

For example, many of the previously mentioned drugs cause euphoria as a side effect by inducing the production of dopamine. As a result, the brain develops cravings for the drug which leads to repeated use.

With time, this creates tolerance for the drug, in which the initial dose of the drug loses its initial effect, which encourages users to up their doses.

The continuous increase in the dose leads to severe dependence on the drug, which is the first stage of substance use disorder that quickly worsens and leads to withdrawal symptoms if left unchecked.

A Brief Overview of the Most Commonly Misused Prescription Drugs

There are plenty of prescription medications with addictive potential out there. Here’s a quick look at the most addictive classes:

Anxiolytics and Sedatives

One of the most common classes of medications is a group of chemicals called “benzos”, short for “benzodiazepines”. They’re typically sold under various trade names, such as Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), and Klonopin (clonazepam).

These medications have potent calming and relaxing effects, which are typically misused to induce sleep or cope with stress, leading to dependence.

Opioid Painkillers

These medications are prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. Opioids and opiates are derivatives of morphine, which explains their high potential for abuse and addiction.

The most commonly abused prescription opioids are OxyContin and Percocet (oxycodone) Vicodin (hydrocodone), and codeine (available in over-the-counter pain medications).


Stimulants are prescribed for conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness) for their ability to enhance focus and alertness.

Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta are among the most commonly abused stimulants, often misused to improve academic performance or increase energy levels.

But besides their severe addictiveness, they lead to life-threatening complications and a remarkably high risk of overdose. When used for longer than prescribed, they also increase the risk of heart problems, such as high blood pressure.

Causes of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug misuse is associated with a wide range of risk factors and causes. While they can vary from one individual to another, the following are some of the most commonly reported ones:

  • Early exposure to these medications
  • Having a history of substance abuse (whether the patient or their family)
  • Struggling with co-existing mental health conditions
  • Lack of awareness about the addictive potential of these drugs
  • Easy access to these drugs through occupation or relation
  • Trying to self-medicate
  • Taking the drugs at a higher dose or for a longer period than prescribed

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Spotting the signs of prescription drug abuse in yourself or a loved one can be the first step toward recovery. Here are some key identifying signs and symptoms to watch for:

  • Increased risk of the abused drug’s side effects
  • Severe disturbances of sleep patterns, whether by oversleeping or insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue and drowsiness
  • Impaired cognitive functions and coordination
  • Doctor shopping (visiting several doctors trying to obtain as much of the drug as possible)
  • Changing the method by which the drug is intended to be taken. For example, crushing and snorting tablets
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyed
  • Self-isolation from society and ignoring family member gatherings
  • Avoiding confrontations and denying help from loved ones and family members
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms between drug doses
  • Using more potent or illicit drugs, especially in the case of opioid addiction

Best Treatment Options for Prescription Drug Addiction

Now that you know more about prescription drug abuse, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the evidence-based approaches used to treat it.

Medical Detoxification

While medical detox itself doesn’t address the underlying reasons for addiction, it’s a vital first step to prepare you for further treatment.

In this stage, the patient’s body is purged from the effects of the addictive prescription medication under the supervision of medical professionals.

The process is typically done in a rehab center to provide medical support, but it can take a wide range of forms depending on the severity of the condition.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Program

One of the special programs included in the treatment of prescription drug addiction, especially opioids, is the medication-assisted treatment program.

This approach mainly works by incorporating FDA-approved and novel medications alongside primary treatment to enhance their effectiveness, reduce cravings, ease withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.

Besides supportive drugs to stabilize patients, the most popular medications used here are methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and sometimes naloxone.

Inpatient Treatment

Since most prescription abuse patients start their treatment at a later stage of addiction, most of them require admission to a recovery facility, which is also known as “residential treatment”.

In this phase, patients receive medical support around the clock from healthcare professionals who monitor their cases.

Outpatient Treatment

This method provides a flexible approach to addiction treatment. Instead of a lengthy and fairly restrictive rehab, patients attend regular therapy and support groups while continuing their daily lives at home and managing work or school.

Outpatient treatment is ideal for those with milder addictions or those who don’t need constant supervision. However, the final decision as to whether it’s suitable is typically made by medical professionals.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy includes counseling sessions to help identify and work out the root causes of the addiction.

The sessions involve working closely with a therapist to explore past experiences and emotional triggers that contribute to abusing the medication.

It typically involves various methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to identify negative thought patterns and develop healthier ways to cope with challenges.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is an umbrella term that includes a variety of group-based activities that individuals participate in, such as 12-step programs, support groups, family therapy, couple counseling, etc.

The main purpose of this treatment approach is to offer a safe space for individuals struggling with addiction to connect and combat the sense of isolation often associated with the late stages of addiction.

Post-Treatment Aftercare and Relapse Prevention

Following treatment, aftercare programs focus on patients’ long-term well-being. These programs go beyond the methods of staying abstinent, as they also incorporate activities like meditation, yoga, exercise, and healthy lifestyle changes to build a more positive attitude toward life to prevent relapse.

Seeking Help with Prescription Drug Addiction in New Jersey

While treating prescription drug addiction can be a challenging journey, achieving lasting recovery is absolutely possible with a strong will, especially in the presence of the right support system.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with prescription drug abuse, don’t hesitate to contact us to receive immediate support and guidance.

Garden State Treatment Center is a highly qualified rehab facility that uses advanced approaches with a caring team to design a personalized treatment plan for each individual to ensure life-long recovery!

Published on: 2024-06-27
Updated on: 2024-07-02