Prescription drug abuse can sneak up on an addict because they might not think that their drug of choice is something that they can get addicted to. If prescribed a medication, a patient may begin to abuse this over time as tolerance levels rise. If an addict’s prescription drug abuse is illegal, they still might think that since this is prescribed to others this isn’t something to worry about.
The CDC states that about 30% of adults have taken three or more prescription drugs in the past month. Whether or not these drugs are something that one can become addicted to or not, this still shows the prevalence of prescribed medication in the United States. With such a normalized association with prescribed medications, individuals might not know the difference and might not understand the signs of prescription drug abuse.
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Whether a prescription drug has been prescribed or not, there are different drug types that have different reactions for those that are addicted. These drug types are opiates, sedatives, and stimulants. Two common drug categories are Schedule I and Schedule II. Schedule II drugs are the most commonly prescribed to patients, but still can lead to addiction. All treat different medical ailments and lead to addiction in different ways.
Opiates are available primarily for pain management. A patient may become addicted once their physical pain has gone, but they are then left with a dependency to the drug. These drugs are highly addictive because they send signals to the brain that it is a reward. Opiates that are commonly prescribed are morphine, codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin and fentanyl.
Sedatives are usually a drug prescribed to get someone through a trauma or incident. These can help with anxiety or to aid further recovery from another medical condition. Sedatives that are prescription forms are benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
Stimulants are often a by-product in other types or drugs, such as weight loss pills. An individual prescribed drugs with stimulants are left with a high feeling that keeps them energized and sharp at first. As tolerance levels rise, this leads to abuse as the drug becomes ineffective at giving the same feeling. Amphetamines, Benzedrine, and Adderall are commonly prescribed stimulants.
Long term use of prescription drugs can be easy to spot in an addict. Weight loss, withdrawing from everyday life, and listlessness can all be factored into drug addiction. When it comes to stimulants, an individual can eventually lose touch with reality and can have delusions about the real world.
In all cases of prescription drug users, it can be hard to convince an addict that they have a problem and that they need treatment. An intervention may be in order to show them that what they are doing is damaging and most likely illegal in order to get them into treatment.
An individual addicted to prescription drugs will need to enter a medically supervised detoxification program. This is needed in order to go through withdrawal from drugs and deal with underlying issues. There are various forms of treatment, but an individual that is seeking drug treatment can find a program that is tailor made for their recovery, examples include:
Prescription drugs can be highly addictive and can change the chemical balance in the brain. Long term drug use can kill brain cells and can cause long term cognitive impairment. Physically, an individual addicted to prescription drugs will need to take more and more to have the same effect.
This can cause damages to the body from taking drugs in large quantities over a long period of time. Since prescription drug addiction starts small, an individual may not realize that what they are doing can cause long term damage, especially if they are under the assumption that the medication is making them better.
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