Prescription medications are one of, if not the most, commonly abused substances in the United States. A large reason for that is the ease with which doctors would prescribe these medications for a very long time. While some people find themselves developing prescription drug dependence and addiction through no fault of their own, even more people get their hands on these substances for the sole use of abusing them recreationally. Of all the different types of prescription medications that are abused, the most commonly abused ones that result in prescription drug addiction rehab are opioids and prescription pain medications such as Vicodin.
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Prescription drug abuse occurs any time a person takes a prescription medication in a way other than directed. This could include taking medication you aren’t prescribed or taking more of a prescription than you were told to by your doctor.
Continuing to take a prescription after your allotted time listed on the bottle could also be considered prescription drug abuse. For example, being told only to take a prescription for 10 days and continuing to take it even after those 10 days are up.
Prescription drug abuse affects more than 18 million people a year of all ages. While abusing prescription drugs can be harmful to everyone, it can be particularly harmful to those in their teen and young adult years. Abusing drugs, particularly prescription drugs, can change how the brain works. This can be particularly dangerous for those who are younger and whose brains are still developing.
What Are Some of the Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?
While any medication that is prescribed by a doctor can be abused, if it is used in a manner other than directed, there are certain prescription drugs that are abused at a far higher rate than others.
Opioid pain killers are by far the most widely abused prescription medications in this country. Since the 1990s, doctors have prescribed opioids at a high rate that has ultimately led to the current crisis we are facing as a country.
While opioids do a very good job at helping people manage and treat their pain, they are also highly addictive. This is because opioids provide feelings of euphoria that those who abuse them constantly chase.
The chances of someone becoming addicted to opioids is low when used short-term and under the supervision of a doctor. Those who are prescribed opioids for long-term ailments though have a much greater chance of becoming dependant on them and ultimately developing an addiction. When this happens, the person is much more likely to abuse them in order to achieve euphoric and joyful feelings.
Commonly abused opioids include:
Thanks in large part to the discovery of mental conditions such as ADD, ADHD, and clinical depression, stimulants have become more and more common as well. Stimulants serve as an “upper”, giving the body and brain a jump-start leading to huge boosts of energy, attention, and alertness.
Stimulants are designed to raise a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar while also narrowing the blood vessels in the body. Over the years, stimulants have become more and more popular for treating things like asthma, obesity, as well as ADD, ADHD, and depression as we mentioned above.
Commonly abused stimulants include:
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
Central nervous system depressants, also known as benzos, have been prescribed to millions of people in the U.S. to treat ailments such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders such as insomnia. These depressants affect the chemical in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA. GABA is designed to lower a person’s brain activity, causing that person to feel more calm, relaxed, and even drowsy.
Common central nervous system depressants that are prescribed and abused include:
Another subset of CNS depressants that are commonly abused is barbituates. Barbituates are traditionally prescribed for anesthesia and to treat seizures.
Commonly abused barbiturates include:
What Are Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse?
Since many people who abuse prescription drugs obtain those drugs legally through a doctor’s prescription, it’s not always easy to tell if someone is abusing prescription drugs or even suffering from a prescription drug dependence or addiction. If a person has a prescription for a substance that he or she is abusing, that person is not likely “hitting the streets” in order to obtain them. Thus, some of the common signs that are associated with many types of substance addictions wouldn’t apply. That being said, there are still certain signs to be on the lookout for that could indicate someone you know is abusing prescription drugs.
Some of the signs of prescription drug abuse include:
- Poor performance at work or school
- Isolation from friends and family
- Sudden, unexplained health issues
- Neglecting daily activities
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Doctor shopping ( finding doctors to write prescriptions)
- Having a lot of pill bottles around the house
- Hiding or lying about drug use
- Continuing to abuse the drugs even when recognizing the consequences
Depending on the substance you or someone you know is abusing, there also might be certain side effects to be on the lookout for. These can include:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Mood swings
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Upset stomach
- Poor judgment
- Slowed reflexes
- Memory problems
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
Why Is Prescription Drug Abuse So Prevalent?
As more and more pharmaceutical companies come out with more and more prescription drugs, the chances for people to abuse said drugs grow rapidly. Thanks, in large part, to the growing popularity of online pharmacies as well, obtaining these prescription medications has never been easier. This has also led to an increase in prescription drug abuse amongst teens and young adults. This is especially the case since young adults and teens can easily raid their parent’s medicine cabinets and find prescription medications that they can take and share with their friends.
In fact, the majority of young people don’t actually know what they are taking when abusing prescription drugs. They often just assume that since the drugs were prescribed by a doctor, that they are safe. This has led to an uptick in overdoses amongst teens and young adults. This is especially the case since many teens and young adults mix prescription pills with other pills or alcohol, not fully understanding what it is doing to their bodies.
Is There Prescription Drug Addiction Rehab?
For those who find themselves suffering from prescription drug abuse, dependence, or addiction, there is prescription drug addiction rehab. Before prescription drug addiction rehab can begin though, one must detox the body and mind.
People should detox under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. This is due to the nature of detoxing and the effects that it can have on the body.
Detoxing can be done at either a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment facility that also offers detox services. Attempting to self-detox can be incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening. Thus, individuals should avoid self-detoxing.
After detox has been completed, the next step is to enter into an addiction treatment program. In this case, that means prescription drug addiction rehab.
Based on a person’s needs and the severity of his or her addiction, a treatment professional will likely recommend either inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization program treatment. During treatment, one will participate in various therapy and counseling sessions.
During these therapy and counseling sessions, an individual will learn not only what caused his or her addiction, but also the ways that he or she can go about life without needing to abuse substances any longer. Essentially, individuals in addiction treatment will reprogram their brains so that they no longer think that they need substances to function properly.
Are You Looking For Prescription Drug Addiction Rehab?
Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substance in the United States. For many people, prescription drug addiction happens through no fault of their own. They are prescribed medications by their doctors. Then they find themselves hooked on the medications and becoming addicted.
At The Owls Nest Recovery, we understand the battle that many people face when it comes to prescription medications. That’s why we offer prescription drug addiction rehab. If you or someone you know is suffering from prescription drug addiction and could benefit from addiction treatment, contact us today.