Prescription drug abuse causes serious health problems and interferes with people’s ability to work, attend school, and maintain strong relationships with family and friends.
When people hear about drug abuse and dependence, they usually think about illegal drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. But substance use disorders can also involve prescription drugs, including widely used medications.
Prescription drug abuse causes serious health problems and interferes with people’s ability to work, attend school, and maintain strong relationships with family and friends. It may also lead to legal issues and a criminal record. Understanding the abuse of prescription drugs is important for both prevention and healing.
Table of Contents
- What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
- Which Types Of Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?
- Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse
- Health Effects Of Abusing Prescription Drugs
- Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment At Illinois Recovery Center
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
When people abuse prescription drugs, they aren’t taking the drug within the limits of a doctor’s instructions. They aren’t following the orders of a legal prescription. The amount of the drug they take or the frequency with which they take it may go against medical orders. Also, their method of ingestion may be unsafe. For example, people addicted to a prescription drug sometimes crush pills and snort them.
Another form of abuse involves combining drugs unsafely, leading to potentially deadly drug interactions. People may also risk severe legal and social repercussions by trying to obtain the drugs without a legitimate prescription.
In 2017, roughly 18 million people in the U.S. reported misusing prescription drugs at least once during the past year. Sometimes, drug abuse begins when people attempt to self-medicate an underlying health problem. Other times, they seek prescription drugs for recreational purposes or other reasons unrelated to an illness.
Abusing prescription drugs may lead to drug dependence or addiction. In cases of addiction, people come to crave the drug. They build a tolerance to it and need more significant doses or more frequent ingestion to achieve the same effects as before.
Which Types Of Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?
News reports of the nation’s opioid crisis frequently mention prescription painkillers, such as medications containing codeine and oxycodone. The following are the most common drug categories:
Opioids And Opiates
Prescription painkillers are also known as opioids. Opioids are a class of synthetic drugs (made in a lab), which includes hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), methadone, and fentanyl. Opiates are chemical compounds that are extracted or refined from natural plant matter (poppy sap and fibers). Examples of opiates include heroin, morphine, and codeine.
Opiates are a class of drugs that work by directly depressing the central nervous system. These drugs are commonly taken to relieve chronic pain. However, due to their potency and powerful ability to get the job done, it’s common for people to become dependent on these medications. As a result, taking them often causes addictive behavior. In 2019, prescription opioids led to an average of 38 overdose deaths per day among Americans.
Opioids include substances that can be used to relieve pain in patients undergoing surgery or those suffering from terminal illnesses like cancer because they cause less nausea than other types of medicine while relieving additional symptoms.
The Power Of Opioids
People who become dependent on or addicted to one particular opiate or opioid drug may find that switching them can help maintain their addiction. A person’s drug tolerance will decrease if he/she substitutes another type of medication.
However, this isn’t true with heroin since it has a much higher potential for becoming habit-forming than prescription pain relievers. Many people who become addicted substitute other types of medications after running out of these prescriptions due to a lack of both availability and cost. No matter what substances you abuse, there are risk factors involved.
Doctors often prescribe opioids to relieve chronic pain. However, patients who have been prescribed these drugs and their doctors need to understand that there is a risk of addiction even if they don’t misuse or abuse pharmaceuticals. It can lead people into heroin use because the rush associated with using them makes up for any difficulty getting an effect from less powerful illegal alternatives like cocaine or marijuana.
Central Nervous System Depressants
These include benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Xanax, which doctors commonly prescribe for anxiety or insomnia. Barbiturates, such as medications containing phenobarbital, are another example of prescription depressants. People often abuse these drugs by combining them with alcohol or opioids.
In contrast to depressants, stimulants speed up the nervous system’s activity. They cause an elevation in heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. Examples of prescription stimulants include Ritalin and Adderall. Heart attacks and seizures are among the major risks of abusing these drugs.
Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse
When people begin abusing prescription drugs, their behavior changes noticeably. However, the initial signs of drug abuse remain subtle in some cases. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between signs of drug abuse and situations where people haven’t received an effective prescription for their medical issues. People may be visiting multiple doctors because they genuinely need better treatment programs.
Seeking More Of A Drug
However, certain behaviors are warning signs of drug abuse. People abusing prescription drugs may demand frequent refills. They may pretend to lose a prescription, hoping a doctor will write another one. Also, they often ignore instructions on dosage and other safe practices.
In some situations, people resort to faking symptoms. Or they continue claiming to need a drug even after they’ve healed from their medical problems. Other times, people attempt to obtain drugs without a legal prescription. They forge or steal prescriptions, steal or ask for medications from relatives and friends, or rely on a dealer who sells prescription drugs illegally.
Carelessness And Neglect
When a drug problem worsens, people’s behavior becomes more careless or reckless. They may combine their drug use with activities that shouldn’t be performed under the influence, such as driving. Also, they may take drugs in dangerous combinations, such as barbiturates mixed with alcohol.
Carelessness doesn’t always involve immediate physical danger. People abusing prescription drugs may ignore obligations and neglect promises they’ve made. They may start missing appointments, social events, classes, work meetings, and family dinners. Relationships or activities that they used to care about now receive less attention.
Drug abuse changes health habits as well. People who struggle with abuse or addiction tend to eat more poorly. Maybe they bathe less often or spend less time exercising. They may wind up sleeping too much or losing much sleep.
People abusing stimulants may become more irritable, aggressive, and fearful. When abusing sedatives or opioid painkillers, they may become more unfocused and lethargic.
People who used to be alert and energetic are now perpetually drowsy and withdrawn. Trustworthy people are now unreliable. If they don’t have easy access to the drug they’re using, they may erupt in rage or resort to stealing. Their loved ones sometimes feel as if they’re in the presence of a stranger.
Mental health suffers from drug abuse and addiction. New psychological problems arise, and existing issues worsen, causing painful changes in people’s moods and personalities, possibly resulting in mental health disorders.
Health Effects Of Abusing Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs differ in how they affect the brain and the rest of the body. How a person will react to drug abuse also varies based on age, existing medical problems, the amount of drug consumption, and other factors. The following are general lists of short-term and long-term risks. These lists aren’t comprehensive.
Short-Term Effects Of Prescription Drug Abuse
- Overdoses, including fatal overdoses.
- Heart attacks and strokes.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Anxiety, depressed moods, and agitation.
- Nausea, loss of appetite, and constipation.
- Poor motor control and balance.
- Slurred speech.
- Forgetfulness and confusion.
- Heightened aggression.
- Poorer decision-making abilities can lead to deadly accidents.
Long-Term Effects Of Prescription Drug Abuse
- Poorer mental and physical health from nutritional deficiencies, broken relationships, job loss, legal problems, and other sources of stress.
- Diminished cognitive functioning, including problems with memory, attention, and speech.
- Damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, and other organ systems throughout the body results in various chronic illnesses.
- Mood disorders and other serious psychological problems.
- Powerful addiction.
Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment At Illinois Recovery Center
People who develop an addiction to prescription drugs are susceptible to severe withdrawal symptoms. These include seizures, painful cramps, heart palpitations, and vomiting. As for psychological effects, the possibilities include brain fog, intense paranoia, and despair.
Withdrawal management is one reason to go to a prescription drug addiction treatment program. Compassionate and knowledgeable professionals can help monitor your symptoms, give you healthy relief, and ensure you receive proper medical attention at the treatment center when necessary.
Recover Effectively From The Cycle Of Addiction
There are also other compelling reasons to attend a rehab program. Illinois Recovery Center views people in a holistic and personalized way. The program doesn’t treat drug addiction as an isolated problem. Instead, each works on their overall mental and physical health, changing habits and figuring out how to rebuild their life.A professional treatment plan is vital to increase the chances of successfully fighting drug abuse and addiction. Illinois Recovery Center offers people healing and hope. It gives people the support they need to regain control and enjoy a meaningful, rewarding life free from prescription drug abuse.
What is it called when you are addicted to prescription drugs?
Someone with an addiction to Prescription Drugs is known to have a Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder.
Prescription drug addiction is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. It is estimated that nearly one in three people who use opioids have led to opioid addiction. This is because these drugs are very effective at relieving pain but also cause a powerful sense of euphoria. As a result, people who become addicted to prescription medication often find it difficult to stop taking them. They may start taking higher doses or using more than one drug at a time. This can lead to serious health problems, including overdose and death. If you or someone you know is struggling with prescription drug addiction, it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional. There are many treatment options in the rehab center available that can help people recover from this disease and lead healthy, productive lives.
Can prescription drugs cause addiction?
While most people take prescription drugs responsibly, there is always the potential for substance abuse. After all, these are powerful medications that can alter moods and perceptions. When misused, they can be highly addictive. In fact, many people who become addicted to prescription drugs start out by taking them for legitimate medical reasons. However, over time, they begin to misuse the drugs, taking them more often or in higher doses than prescribed. This can lead to tolerance, which means that larger doses are needed to achieve the desired effect. As tolerance builds, addiction can quickly follow. If you or someone you know is struggling with prescription drug abuse, getting help as soon as possible is important. With substance abuse treatment, it is possible to overcome prescription drug misuse and build a healthy, substance-free life and well-being.
What 3 prescription drugs are most commonly abused?
The three most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids, central nervous system depressants (e.g., Benzos), and stimulants (e.g., Adderall). Opioids are a type of pain medication that can be easily misused due to their high potential for addiction. Central nervous system depressants are drugs that slow down brain activity, making them perfect for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. However, they can also be abused for their calming effects. Stimulants are drugs that increase alertness and energy levels. They are often used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder but can also be misused for their energizing effects. All three types of drugs are widely available and easily accessible, which makes them vulnerable to abuse. However, with proper education and awareness, people can learn to use these drugs safely and prevent abuse.
How do prescription drugs affect the brain?
Prescription drugs are designed to target specific areas of the brain to treat various health conditions. For example, antidepressants increase serotonin levels, while antipsychotics block dopamine receptors. However, these drugs can also have unintended effects on the brain. For instance, some antidepressants may cause changes in weight or sleeping patterns, while antipsychotics can lead to feelings of restlessness and fatigue. In addition, prescription drugs can interact with other medications, further complicating their effects on the brain. As a result, discussing all potential side effects with a doctor before starting any medication to avoid any life-threatening situations is important.
Why are prescription drugs so addictive?
Prescription drugs are designed to be taken as directed by a medical professional. However, these drugs can also be abused, and many people become addicted to them. There are a number of reasons why prescription drugs are so addictive. First, they are easily accessible. Many people have prescriptions for painkillers or other drugs, and these drugs can be obtained from friends or family members. Second, prescription drugs are often potent and can produce a strong feeling of euphoria. This can make it difficult for people to stop taking the drug, even when they experience negative consequences. Finally, prescription drugs can be expensive, and people who are addicted may go to great lengths to obtain them. As a result, addiction to prescription drugs is a serious problem that affects many people.