From Prescription Drugs to Opiate Addictions

by | Jan 3, 2018 | Articles

Billing Solutions Team
Billing Solutions provides medical billing services for behavioral healthcare practices.

The journey from a simple prescription to drug abuse and addiction is one with which too many people are becoming more and more familiar. Even with recent government regulations aimed at controlling the long-term prescribing practices of doctors, we’re still seeing prescription drugs being used as a gateway to addiction. The truth is, addiction doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if your family has money, nor does it care if you are affluent or educated. Addiction is a disease that can hit anybody at any time. This is part of what makes it such a terrifying addition to our society. If someone becomes dependent on a substance in order to feel normal, it’s almost impossible to tell who they were before the addiction took hold. It really does change people, which can make it difficult to overcome. With other diseases, we see certain physical symptoms. Often times, physical symptoms of addiction indicate that the problem has gotten so grave enough, that serious intervention must occur.

Someone who’s become completely addicted to opiates cannot break that cycle alone.

Roughly 40 to 60% of people addicted to drugs and alcohol will face a period of relapse. Almost 90% of those who are addicted to heroin or other opiates will go through this relapse. This is a serious testament to the power that drugs like heroin have over the physical body. These aren’t drugs that let go easily, and treatment plans often involve long and rigorous stents in rehab. Treatment can’t be forced. This is why jails and court ordered drug programs rarely provide any real hope of sobriety.

The only way that an addict can truly get better is to understand that they have a problem that calls for immediate help. Unless the addict recognizes this problem in their own self, they’ll never take the necessary steps to get better. It’s also extremely important for family and friends to realize that this is a hard process. Sobriety isn’t something that can happen overnight, and it’s something that requires the support of everyone in the life of the addict. Working with a company that provides revenue cycle billing services can also take a lot of stress out of the entire process.

Many addictions actually start out with a perfectly legal prescription. The doctor may prescribe something for acute pain or even a pain management program when a person undergoes an injury or some kind of infirmary. The person may discover that they are using the medication for more than just their pain. Most narcotics produce a very euphoric effect, and this starts to alter the brain chemistry of people who are predisposed to addiction.

Once someone becomes dependent on these types of medications, they may start to ask the doctor for stronger dosages. Or, they may even resort to faking injuries in order to get painkillers from other sources. Many doctors see these types of patients coming through the emergency room or urgent care clinics.

Any place that doesn’t have a huge collection of medical records can perhaps make it easier for someone to obtain painkillers. A real med seeker may not return to the same clinic or emergency room more than once. They learn the art of Dr. shopping, and will also change pharmacies frequently to fill prescriptions before their due.

When narcotics become unavailable, an addict may turn to street drugs in order to stop the effects of withdrawals. Withdrawals are the horrible physical symptoms that begin as soon as a person starts to detox from the drug that they’re addicted to. This is a horrible process, but it’s not one that goes without hope. With the right treatment and the right support, an addict can return to their normal life with dignity and a plan for the future.