Scottsdale, AZ -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/13/2010 -- As a result of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reporting 50% of new admissions to drug addiction treatment centers in Phoenix, Arizona, are now for prescription drug abuse, Journey Healing Centers (AZ and UT) announces Prevention Tips to educate everyone on the warning signs, health dangers and sobriety solutions. While Hollywood continues to lose stars to prescription drug abuse (Corey Haim, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy), it's not just celebrities who are dealing with these addictions. More than 50 million Americans -- about 1 in 6 -- have admitted to abusing prescription drugs, according to a CBS Evening News report.
The signs and symptoms of substance abuse may be subtle at first, but eventually the addiction takes over and becomes more important than family and work. Commonly abused prescription drugs are narcotics similar to heroin or morphine, including Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Oxycontin and Vicodin. Once someone's tolerance goes up and abuse becomes dependency, doctor shopping can become a way of life to maintain a "stash." According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, doctor shoppers cost insurers $10,000 to $15,000 per year (per patient) in office visits, ER treatment, and drug rehabilitation.
"Prescription drug abuse does not occur overnight. It develops over time. In the same way, recovery from prescription drug, alcohol or illicit drug dependencies does not occur overnight," explains Dr. Ravi Chandiramani, Journey Healing Centers Medical Director. Journey's licensed doctors and therapists want to share these tips now to help anyone dealing with an addiction get help before it's too late. Here's how everyone can identify prescription drug abuse and get their loved ones help:
1) Watch for these Prescription Drug Abuse Warning Signs
- Someone who is "doctor shopping" for prescriptions tends to have many doctor appointments with different doctors
- Prescription bottles in pockets of clothes, purses or in vehicle(s)
- Frequent calls in to various providers to schedule visits or to refill prescriptions
- Observation of "pill popping" behavior on more than one occasion
- Uses pain medications more frequently and at a higher dosage than prescribed
2) What are the Health Dangers with Prescription Drug Abuse?
- There is a higher potential for dangerous side effects when someone starts mixing drugs (and especially for someone doctor shopping for drugs)
- When tolerance levels build, higher dosages are required to ease pain or symptoms.
- The user may find that taking the pill covers up day-to-day pain and it becomes easier to take pills than deal with what's going on in reality.
- Over time, there is an increased overdose potential.
- If someone takes too much medicine when they go to sleep, they could stop breathing and die.
If someone you love is abusing prescription drugs, here are some proactive actions you can take to help them break addictions and get sober for life:
3) What are Sobriety Solutions?
- Get Help as a family versus leaving the patient alone during treatment (Journey Healing Centers has Family Support Programs where everyone heals together)
- Call a licensed medical practitioner with any questions about everything you're taking instead of playing your own doctor
- Find a treatment center that offers more individual sessions (Journey Healing Centers offers more than most in the industry.) This gives the client additional time in treatment to work through the issues of the underlying addiction.
- Find a program with Aftercare so you have continued support after your treatment (Journey Healing Centers offer Free Aftercare for life)
- Help loved ones avoid relapses by finding long-term care (Journey Healing Centers offers a Sobriety for Life Program backed by a team of professionals)
"The research is very clear, the longer one can remain in treatment and presumably abstinent, the better the chances of long term recovery. We find that clients that stay in treatment for approximately 90 days, between our residential and outpatient programs, fare better when they leave treatment," says Dr. Ravi Chandiramani, Journey Healing Centers Medical Director.
Journey Healing Centers operates 7 rehabilitation programs in Arizona and Utah, and has been featured on MTV's Gone Too Far, PBS, ABC News 15 Phoenix and in People Magazine. Journey Healing Centers has supported thousands of families dealing with addictions through Residential Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Sober Living Homes, Aftercare and a Free 24-Hour Hotline with Addiction Specialists: 1-866-744-5119. http://journeyrecoverycenters.com
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