What Are Prescription Drugs
Types of Prescription Drugs
- Opiates: Opioid medications are designed to treat pain by mimicking the release of endorphins that help your brain to mask feelings of pain and discomfort. It is usually the euphoria induced by these false endorphins and the ensuing release of dopamine (the brain’s pleasure chemical) that leads to opiate addiction. Common opioids include hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl.
- Sedatives: Also known as tranquilizers, sedatives are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants that slow down brain activity, relieve anxiety, and help remedy sleep issues. Common sedatives include benzodiazepines (also known as benzos) and barbiturates. Sedatives induce feelings of calm, serenity, and relaxation, making them very attractive to individuals suffering from chronic anxiety.
- Stimulants: CNS stimulants are usually prescribed to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Stimulant drugs boost brain activity, increase attention and alertness, and activate the release of various chemicals in the brain such as dopamine. The rush of dopamine triggered by stimulants can result in stimulant addiction. Common prescription stimulants include Adderall and Ritalin.
Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
- Increased tolerance: A sign of drug abuse is requiring higher doses of the drug in order to achieve the same effect as with lower initial doses in the past.
- Withdrawal: When attempting to stop taking the drug, the user may feel physically ill and have a range of undesirable mental effects as a result of withdrawal.
- Inability to stop: One of the key signs of drug addiction is being unable to stop taking the drug, regardless of any ill physical and mental effects, and any negative consequences that have resulted from use, such as criminal acts, medical crises, or resulting family trauma.
- Obsessive behavior: When someone is addicted to a drug, it becomes their sole focus and they will do anything in order to obtain and use the drug, even if it causes problems in their personal and professional lives.
Symptoms of Opioid Abuse
- Slow breathing
- Drowsiness and confusion
- Poor coordination
- Higher dose required for pain relief
- Increased sensitivity to pain despite higher doses
Symptoms of Sedative Abuse
- Dizziness and confusion
- Unsteady walking
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- Memory problems
- Slower breathing
Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse
- Increased alertness
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- High body temperature
- Low appetite
Some signs the abuse of all prescription drugs have in common include stealing, lying, excessive mood swings, increased or decreased sleep, reckless behavior, and requesting early refills.
Risk Factors for Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
- Past or present addictions to other substances, including alcohol, tobacco, and other narcotics
- Family history of substance abuse
- Certain pre-existing psychiatric conditions
- Exposure to peer pressure or social environments where others are using drugs
- Easy and unrestricted access to prescription medication
- Lack of knowledge about prescription drugs and their negative effects
How to Prevent Prescription Drug Addictions
Consult with a Doctor
Do Not Share Medication
Buy Authentic Medication
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
- Opiate Withdrawal: This usually involves weaning the person off the medication by gradually decreasing the dose until it is no longer used. Certain medications can be used during the weaning process to manage or ease opiate withdrawal symptoms.
- Sedative Withdrawal: It may take weeks to slowly taper off these sedative drugs since the body needs time to adjust to lower doses and ultimately the cessation of taking the drug. Individuals may also need mood stabilizers to help them through the transition.
- Stimulant Withdrawal: There are no FDA-approved drugs used for treating stimulant withdrawal. Treatment typically focuses on gradually tapering off the medication and helping relieve any withdrawal symptoms that may occur.
Work with a Treatment Center
Most treatment centers use detox, medication therapy, and counseling. People who enroll in these programs can work with professional therapists in order to understand how the issue came about and what can be done to prevent the risk of relapse. Relapse is a very real possibility, and a treatment center will work with the patient to significantly minimize the risk of relapse.