Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
Recovery from prescription drug abuse is possible, and GateHouse is ready to stand by your side. For individuals who are ready to overcome their prescription drug addiction, we offer a personal approach to treatment that is based on proven methodologies. We give you the tools needed to build a strong recovery by promoting personal responsibility and accountability. We are personally invested in our clients’ recovery process, and putting people first has always been the bedrock of our treatment philosophy. Reach out today, and find out how GateHouse can help.
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Many of us have prescription drugs in our homes, for a variety of medical reasons. Prescription drug abuse is a problem that is steadily worsening. It’s leading many users who are struggling with prescription drug addiction to turn to illicit street drugs. Even those taking medications prescribed to them can still develop a prescription drug addiction leading them down a dark road.
History of Prescription Drug Addiction
While opiate and opioid drugs are the most commonly abused prescription drugs, many drugs have come into the pharmaceutical field that are just as addicting. Many people begin abusing prescription drugs due to the misconception of the safety of prescription drugs. The availability of prescription drugs in the home often leads to experimentation in teenagers through peer pressure, general curiosity, or being given something by a parent or family member. The prescription drug addiction epidemic has continued to grow. In 2006, the NSDUH collected data stating that 55.7% of those 12 and older who misused pain relievers said they received their medication from a friend or family member. The majority of whom had gotten the drugs from just one doctor. Meaning that many people are unknowingly starting a prescription drug addiction.
Prescription Drugs Most Commonly Abused
The four types of most commonly abused prescription drugs are painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives
Painkillers: Oxycodone – Oxycontin, Percocet | Oxymorphone – Dilaudid
Tranquilizers: Benzodiazepines – Xanax, Valium, Klonopin
Stimulants: Amphetamines – Adderall, Dexedrine
Sedatives: Sleeping medications – Ambien, Lunesta
Physiology and Side Effects of Prescription Drug Addiction
The way prescription drugs react in the brain depend on which drug is being abused, many of the prescription drugs abused have similar side effects. The way painkillers, tranquilizers/benzodiazepines, stimulants, and sedatives/sleeping medication work in the brain is that they alter the number of chemicals released or reabsorbed in the brain. When the drugs are abused it causes the brain to become dependent on the pills to control the reuptake and release of these vital chemicals in the brain, this causes prescription drug addiction.
Prescription Drug Abuse Side Effects
The different types of most commonly abused prescription drugs all have very different uses and side effects when misused. Some of the most common side effects of each type of commonly abused prescription drug by type are:
Painkiller Opioid and Opiate Prescription Drug Side Effects
- Feelings of euphoria
- Pain relief
- Drowsiness/ Sedation
Tranquilizer/Benzodiazepine Prescription Drug Abuse Side Effects
- Slurred speech
Stimulant Prescription Drug Abuse Side Effects
- Loss of appetite
- Increased Concentration
Sedative/Sleep Medication Abuse Side Effects
- Memory Difficulties
- Extreme drowsiness
Understanding Prescription Drug Addiction
So many people struggle with prescription drug addiction because they see the use as necessary or acceptable because it is a doctor prescribed medication. Just because it is coming from a doctor does not mean that it’s not addictive and cannot be abused. Prescription drug abuse is becoming most prevalent in young adults, abuse can, and in many cases leads to prescription drug addiction even at younger ages.
Many of those faced with prescription drug addiction don’t know how to cope with the issues the drugs were initially prescribed for or fear that they can’t deal with them.
- Approximately 16M people in the U.S abuse prescription meds
- Generally ages 18+, men abuse prescription drugs more than women
- Age 12–17, females abuse prescription drugs more than males
- The four most common prescriptions abused: painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives.
- Annually, more people die from prescription opioid painkillers than all illegal drugs combined
- Between 1999 and 2014 prescription drug overdoses quadrupled
- The highest percentage of those abusing prescription drugs is individuals aged 18-25
- 9M americans ages 12+ abused a tranquilizer drug such as Xanax at some point
- Around 90% of prescription drug addiction starts in the teenage years
Signs of Abuse
Due to the many different prescription drugs abused the specific signs and symptoms of addiction can vary. Here are some general signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction that will display to some degree no matter prescription drug is being abused.
Noticeable mood swings, change in patterns, increased irritability, depression, increased sleeping, insomnia, extreme confusion, hostility, depression, paranoia
Drug-seeking behaviors at doctors’ offices, unknown pills without bottles, prescription bottles with other names on them, missing prescription drugs from your home or family member homes, frequent refills or running out of prescription early, visiting multiple doctors for the similar conditions, crushing or breaking pills, pills hidden around the house, unexplained weight gain, unexplained weight loss
Lack of coordination, risky behaviors, constipation, restlessness, lack of sleep, oversleeping, respiratory depression, tolerance to normal dosage, increased heartrate, worsening physical wellbeing