The First Four Steps in Stopping Your Drug Use

The First Four Steps in Stopping Your Drug Use

When a patient receives a new prescription, it is hopefully received with knowledge of the addictive potential and a firm resolve not to fall into drug misuse. However, even with the intention to prevent complications, sometimes abusive tendencies develop that will need to be broken.

  1. Recognize a Need for Change

The first step to breaking an abusive drug use habit is to recognize there is a need for change. Patients should take drugs as they are directed. If one recognizes that drugs are being used in any way other than instructed, she has recognized an abusive trend that must be immediately addressed.

Physicians can often be the ones to recognize abuse, and they should perform regular analysis in order to do so. A patient can also take this first step, perhaps realizing that he or she is preferring to chew pills which are actually intended to be swallowed, for example. A physician should ask about all abuse history and all drugs currently being taken. A patient should honestly list all medications and supplements that he or she uses. Pharmacists may also recognize abuse. They may note altered refill requests, frequent refill requests, or refill requests from multiple doctors for the same drug. Family members may notice drug abuse, perhaps by noting social changes in a family member’s behavior that signal addiction.

  1. Ask Questions: Communication and Cooperation Between Patient and Providers

After admitting that there is something not quite right with the way the drugs are being taken, it is important to ask pointed questions. This is the second step to stopping improper drug use. It does not matter who has taken the first step to recognize improper use. Concerns must be discussed calmly and openly, with a spirit of understanding that this is for the benefit of the user. These conversations need not be shameful, and the earlier that they are done, the better!

  1. Cooperate with the Treatment Plan

To cooperate is essential in creating and maintaining motivation in treatment recovery. When steps one and two have been taken, the problem has been identified and likely a plan has begun to be formed based on the information gathered in assessments. Now, cooperation between all respective members is necessary to propel actions that will develop this strategy of changes.

A patient can ask whether there are workbook resources or phone app programs that they can use to monitor and maintain healthy drug use. In reality, patients are not the only ones responsible for maintaining motivation to stick to treatment therapy. Physicians are equally responsible for staying motivated and positive, even if the patient loses interest for a time.

Family support can go a long way toward helping the user fight discouragement. Users should inform those that they know will be supportive of the problem and how they can reasonably be of assistance. Users should also be conscious to thank their professional assistants for guidance and treatment provided, as this will increase the esteem of all involved in the process, effecting a spirit of cooperation, ultimately resulting in increased motivation by all parties and in eventual treatment success.

Cooperation can be hindered by a lack of motivation, which is often influenced by social interactions. If a patient is directed by a healthcare professional to seek the assistance of a support group, he or she should attend counseling as directed. It is likewise crucial to comply with support group suggestions regarding associations. If there are friends or family members involved that encourage drug abuse, these relationships should be limited, strictly altered or avoided altogether. Motivation can be stimulated or lost at any point during the treatment process, and cooperation will go a long way toward keeping it rolling at its finest.3

  1. Establish New Habits for Long-term Improvement

Many who seek recovery from misuse of drugs, illegal or prescription, find that they do not take as active of an interest in their general health as they ought to. It is helpful to establish new habits for greater health and well-being. Sometimes making adjustments to eating or exercise routines increases their ability to adapt to healthier mental habits and to lower the necessity for certain prescription medications.

Speak to your doctor candidly about your rest, eating, exercise and drinking habits, and see if there are reasonable recommendations that might have a positive impact on your mental, emotional and physical health. This is one simple action that can assist the recovery from drug abuse, as well as develop into an enjoyable habit that will undoubtedly become a part of the new abuse-free lifestyle. 3

Using prescription drugs in any way other than they are intended to be used is illegal, and can be treated exactly the same as criminal drug use by law. However, for those who come forward and admit to problems with prescription management, even addiction, there is wide understanding.

It is now known that there are dangers present with many prescription methods that are resulting in addiction in millions of users that were not fully understood before. There is no need to fear that unintentional drug misuse will lead to legal prosecution. However, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, which the Center for Disease Control defines as “state-run electronic databases used to track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled prescription drugs to patients,” are on the rise.4 Users who intentionally seek extra prescriptions by visiting multiple doctors, altering prescriptions or any other crafty means are punishable by law. Recognize abuse and stop it as soon as it is recognized, do not seek to facilitate it, or you may get caught, which will likely not be the least of your worries.

Treatment is possible! Recognize what constitutes abuse. Ask questions and let us help you. Consider opening your life to a treatment plan if possible, and your life may see some real positive change. We would like to support you in your journey.


1 http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/prescription-drugs-abuse-addiction/preventing-recognizing-prescription-drug-abuse . National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Preventing and Recognizing Prescription Drug Abuse.” Last Updated November 2014, Retrieved 12/16/15.

2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64972/ . SAMHSA Treatment Improvement Protocols, Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Abuse Treatment, 1999; Retrieved 12/16/15.

3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/addiction-treatment-exercise_n_1291862.html. Huffington Post, “Can Exercise help treat addiction?” Published February 22 2012, Retrieved 12/16/15.

4 http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdmp/. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.” Revised May 5 2015, Retrieved 12/16/15.