Prescription drug abuse affects 15 million Americans every year, and 20 percent of these people have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. While prescription drug abuse differs from addiction, abusers have a high risk of becoming dependent on prescription medication.
The medications that account for most cases of prescription drug abuse are Schedule II drugs, which include Fentanyl and other opiates, Adderall and other stimulants, and Klonopin and other sedatives. Schedule II drugs aren’t as dangerous as Schedule I drugs, which include heroin and LSD, but they nevertheless have a high potential for severe psychological or physical addiction.
Prescription drug abuse can lead to other serious problems as well, such as:
Signs of Prescription Pill Abuse
While specific drugs have specific signs of abuse, these are some of the general signs that someone you know may be abusing prescription medications:
Types of Prescription Drugs Commonly Abused
Opiates, stimulants, and sedatives are the most commonly abused prescription medications.
Opiates are painkillers that bond to receptors in the brain and spinal cord and block the transmission of pain signals. Opiates include Dilaudid, Suboxone, Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Dolophine. The long-term health risks for opiates include brain and heart damage, major depression, and reduced cognitive function. Signs and symptoms of opiate abuse include chronic constipation, depression, low blood pressure and decreased breathing rate, confusion, sweating, and poor coordination.
Stimulants are used to treat conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy by increasing the production of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which promotes alertness, sharpens attention, and increases energy. Stimulants include Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine. Long-term health risks associated with stimulant abuse include depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, and irritability. Signs and symptoms of stimulant abuse include drastic weight loss and malnutrition, agitation and irritability, insomnia, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, restlessness, and impulsive behavior.
Sedatives increase the amount of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which slows down nerve transmission to alleviate anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and seizures. Sedatives include benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium as well as non-benzodiazepine sleeping pills such as Ambien and Lunesta. Long-term health risks common with sedative abuse include memory problems, low blood pressure, and slowed breathing rate. Signs and symptoms of sedative abuse include drowsiness, dizziness, unsteady movements, poor judgment, involuntary eye movements, and confusion.
Medical Prescription Drug Detox
At addiction treatment Centers, they offer comprehensive treatment for prescription drug addiction and abuse. The first step in the treatment process is detoxifying the body of the drug. Medical detox is a common detox method that involves using other medications to reduce the duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms and alleviate the intense cravings associated with withdrawal. A team of medical professionals monitor patients around the clock to ensure that the process is safe and goes as smoothly as possible.
Following the detox process, treatment will begin. Comprehensive treatment programs address underlying physical and mental health issues through medication and therapy, and strategies are developed through counseling to cope with stress and recognize triggers. Individual, group and family therapy are utilized throughout their stay. After treatment, an aftercare program will be set in place to help ease the transition back to “real” life and prevent relapse.
Call Drug Treatment Centers East Brunswick at (732) 455-1314 to have someone help you research rehab centers and learn about your options. Stop suffering and make the first step in seeking assistance with your search.