Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescription medication for non-medical reasons. Over 52 million people in the United States have abused prescription drugs, and although the U.S. only represents five percent of the world’s population, Americans consume 75 percent of the world’s prescription medications.
Prescription drug abuse can quickly lead to addiction, characterized by withdrawal symptoms when the body isn’t supplied with the drug, as well as the inability to stop using prescription drugs even though efforts have been made to do so. Those addicted to prescription pills continue to abuse them despite the negative social, financial, and legal problems they cause.
Getting professional help for prescription drug abuse is essential for long-term recovery. Drug treatment starts with detoxification, during which traces of the drug are flushed from the body, and after which treatment therapy begins. The last step of prescription drug abuse or addiction treatment is an individualized aftercare program that helps prevent relapse.
• Opiates block the nerve transmission of pain and include medications like OxyContin, Codeine, Morphine, Vicodin, and Fentanyl.
• Stimulants treat ADHD and sometimes obesity by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which increases attention, alertness, and energy. Commonly abused prescription stimulants include Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine.
• Sedatives treat anxiety and panic disorders by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter GABA, resulting in reduced nerve transmission. Prescription sedatives include benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium; non-benzodiazepine sleeping aids like Lunesta and Ambien; and barbiturates like Nembutal and Seconal.
Although each type of prescription drug has specific signs and symptoms of abuse, general signs can include:
• Forging or stealing prescriptions.
• Getting prescriptions from multiple doctors.
• “Losing” prescriptions to get a replacement.
• Stealing or borrowing money.
• Excessive mood swings or hostility.
• Engaging in risky behaviors when taking the drugs.
• Appearing unusually energetic or sedated.
• A marked increase or decrease in sleep.
Abusing prescription drugs increases the risk of becoming addicted. While each drug has its own health risks, general physical and mental health risks associated with abusing prescription pills include:
• Organ damage and organ failure, especially of the liver and kidneys.
• Building up a tolerance to the medication so that more is needed to get the same effects, leading to physical dependence on the drug, which is marked by withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.
• Increased risk of mental health problems, including paranoia and depression.
• Decreased cognitive function and memory impairment.
• Psychological addiction and intense cravings.
Treatment for prescription drug addiction begins with medical detox performed under the supervision of a physician and mental health professionals. Medical detox utilizes medications to help alleviate severe cravings and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the medications used during detox include:
Suboxone, Methadone, and Naltexone to alleviate cravings and mental and physical symptoms of withdrawal from opiate painkillers.
Norpramin, Diazepam, Neurotonin, and Zyban to reduce intense cravings and depressive symptoms associated with stimulant withdrawal.
Withdrawal from sedatives is a tapering off process that helps prevent withdrawal symptoms, which may cause dangerous changes in body functions like temperature control and blood pressure.
Getting help for a prescription drug addiction or abuse problem Syosset Drug Treatment Centers is essential for helping to prevent relapse during withdrawal, decreasing the painful withdrawal symptoms, identifying and addressing underlying or co-existing issues, and ensuring the best chances of long-term recovery.
At Syosset Drug Treatment Centers, we understand the complexity of addiction, and we have the qualified staff to help you manage your disease. Give us a call today at 631-729-7250.