Prescription drug abuse is a widespread problem. Many users believe that these drugs are safer because they are prescribed by doctors. Unfortunately, many medications are just as dangerous as illicit drugs, if not more so. Addiction to these prescribed substances can cause a number of health and emotional problems to the abusers.
For information about prescription drug abuse treatment options, contact Garland Drug Treatment Centers at (972) 536-2109.
Many different prescription medications have the potential for abuse, but the most common culprits are pain relievers, sleeping medications, anti-anxiety drugs and stimulants.
Prescription opiate medications such as OxyContin and Percocet can be effective painkillers when used as directed, but they’re also the most addictive prescription drugs. The addictive nature of these drugs is due to the chemical changes they enact in the user’s brain.
Opiate drugs cause the brain to produce artificial endorphins: the chemicals that produce euphoric feelings of pleasure in the user. With continued use, the brain stops producing these endorphins on its own, and users become dependent on the drug to experience good feelings. In addition, users begin feeling unwell when they’re not taking the drug due to the lack of natural endorphins; they need the drug to stave off the unpleasant feelings of withdrawal.
Drugs in the benzodiazepine category, including Xanax and Ativan, are administered to treat anxiety. These medications are also highly addictive and often over-prescribed by doctors. Some prescription drugs are abused when they’re taken for the wrong reasons.
Stimulant drugs that are prescribed to treat ADHD are frequently misused when they’re taken by individuals without ADHD symptoms who just use the drugs to help them study and work more effectively.
There are a number of signs that a person is abusing prescription drugs. These can include:
These are just some of the symptoms and signs that can indicate someone you know has a substance abuse problem tied to prescription drugs. It is important to encourage a person who is abusing these substances to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid permanent health problems or death.
Addiction is a chronic condition, but it can be conquered with the right course of treatment. Treatment plans for prescription drug addiction will vary depending on the drug of addiction and the extent of the dependence.
Detox is the first step in addiction treatment plans, and it may occur on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Medically-supervised detox programs will allow the patient to gradually withdraw from a drug in a safe manner. Some prescription drugs cause severe withdrawal symptoms, but treatment medications are available to help patients get through the process.
Once the detox process is complete, a patient can start rehabilitation. This stage of treatment usually involves cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. In rehabs, patients begin to understand the nature of addiction and develop coping techniques to help them deal with drug cravings.
Relapse prevention is another focal point of therapy. Patients learn to identify triggers and avoid situations that could tempt them into drug use. For individuals in treatment for opiate addiction, treatment medications may be helpful during rehabilitation. Methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine can block opiate cravings and help patients focus on their recovery.