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Prescription Drug Addiction

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is one of the most prominent types of chemical dependency.  Prescription drugs are any type of medication that is legally approved by the doctor before it can be taken. The types of prescription drugs that are most often abused typically function by dominating or enhancing chemical reactions present in the brain. There are numerous categories of prescriptions which are widely abused, a few of them are listed as follows:

Opiates: Frequently prescribed to cure severe or chronic pain.

Stimulants: Widely prescribed in the event of attention deficit disorder.

Sedatives: Commonly prescribed by medical experts to cure insomnia, restlessness disorders, and anxiety.

What are the reasons and causes?

Addiction to prescription drugs happens for a variety of reasons, some of them are listed as follows:

  • To decrease hunger or enhance alertness
  • To feel the effects of drug substances on mind and body
  • To feel relaxed or high
  • To impress social companions who are already indulged in a similar habit
  • To avoid withdrawal
  • To increase sense of focus and educational or job performance
  • To escape personal or professional tensions

What are the signs & symptoms?

Using legally prescribed drugs in proper doses can be beneficial for a short period of time.  However, if one continues use over prolonged periods or goes outside the dosing recommendations provided by their doctor, the results often end in addiction.  Prescription drug addiction is not attributed to only one particular type of medicine, because of this, there are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with abuse and addiction to prescription drugs. Abuse of stimulants, sedatives, and opioids has following signs and symptoms:

  • Intoxication or drowsiness
  • Nausea, constipation or agitation
  • Confusion, paranoia and insomnia
  • Imbalanced blood pressure and fast heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath and severe depression
  • Trouble walking and slanted posture
  • Vomiting, cold flashes and cardiac arrest
  • Reduction in weight
  • Cardiovascular disorder
  • Stealing or asking for prescriptions from more than one medical professional
  • Aggressive attitude and bad mood swings

What are the elements of risk?

Addiction to prescription drugs is a difficult thing to understand.  While on one hand, patients often blame their doctors for their addiction, on the other, those same patients often times overuse the drugs they are prescribed.  When dealing with prescription drugs, it is best to be your own advocate and understand all of the benefits and potential downfalls of prescription drug use.  If you or someone you love has crossed the line from proper prescription drug use into addiction, several risk factors may be present.  These factors include:

  • Lapsing towards other (harder) drugs
  • Easy availability of drugs, online or in medical stores
  • Questionable psychiatric or mental conditions
  • Inherited drug addiction habit
  • Limited information about prescriptions and their potential hazards

What are the effects?

If prescription medication is used without consulting doctors, several adverse effects may be encountered, they include:

  • Loss of mental ability  and ability to make decisions
  • Disturbance of natural immune system health
  • Increased risk of physical and psychological diseases
  • Possibility of coma or death
  • Slowness in responding and performing activities

Treatment

Many years of studies and experiments indicate that prescription drug abuse is a mental disorder which can be treated effectively. The first and foremost part of treatment is to identify the kind of medications which have been overused by the patient as well as the symptoms incurred by the addiction.  After assessing symptoms and degree of use, an effective treatment plan can be created by a healthcare professional.  This will usually include some sort of detox process as well as inpatient or outpatient treatment.