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A Closer Look at Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are hugely beneficial to the health and wellness of many people throughout the country, but the nonmedical use and abuse of prescription drugs has become a large problem. While initial use of the drug is voluntary, continued use of the prescription drug can lead to changes in the brain and the hormones your body produces.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 52 million people have used prescription drugs in a nonmedical capacity at least once in their lives. One survey from NIDA found that 1 in 12 high school seniors had used Vicodin for non-medical reasons in 2010, while 1 in 20 had used OxyContin.

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Types of Drugs Abused

The three most common classes of prescription drugs abused include:

  • Central nervous system depressants for treating sleep disorders and anxiety
  • Stimulants for treating depression, attention deficit disorder, and narcolepsy
  • Opioids for relieving pain

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

1.

Symptoms differ based on the type of prescription drug you are abusing. When used appropriately, opioids can effectively help you mitigate chronic pain and improve your quality of life. When abused, opioids cause a distinct sense of euphoria, but they can be life threatening in the event of an overdose. When taken in conjunction with central nervous system depressants, opioids can increase the risk of death by respiratory depression.

2.

Central nervous system depressants, usually benzodiazepines, work directly on GABA, a neurotransmitter that can cause feelings of calm, drowsiness, and physical relaxation, making it an effective treatment for anxiety disorders and insomnia. However, after extended use of CNS depressants, you may require more or a higher dosage to feel some of the same effects. Using depressants with alcohol also slows down your breathing and heart rate to a dangerous point. Suddenly stopping use can also lead to life-threatening symptoms.

3.

Stimulants were initially designed to treat obesity and asthma but have since been adjusted to treat depression, ADD, and other disorders. When taken properly, stimulants increase your energy, alertness, and concentration. Physically, they can increase heart rate and blood pressure and open respiratory system pathways. When abused, they have a high potential for addiction and can lead to dangerous health symptoms, like high body temperature and irregular heart rate.

Risk Factors and Causes of Prescription Drug Addiction

Risk factors differ from person to person, but addiction to prescription drugs can be based on a combination of environment and personal health. Common risk factors include:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Pre-existing psychiatric conditions
  • Lack of knowledge about prescription drugs
  • Peer pressure

The rise in prescription drug abuse in Florida and other states is often attributed to the generally increased availability of drugs. Furthermore, online pharmacies make it very easy for even kids and teens to purchase prescription drugs.

Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse can be treated through inpatient detox programs, which often combine medication with counseling and a steady tapering off of the drug. The medications used depend on the prescription drug being abused, but common pharmacological treatments include:

  • Propranolol
  • Carbamazepine
  • Buspirone

Begin Your Road to Recovery with HARP

HARP provides a medical team experienced in the treatment of prescription drug abuse as well as a safe, supportive space to help you recover from prescription drug abuse. To learn more or get help today, please call us at (877) 806-5022.

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