What is Prescription Drug Addiction?
Even individuals who take prescription drugs for justified medical reasons may begin to increase pill consumption gradually, resulting in addiction.
Prescription drug addiction is rising dramatically across all segments of the population. The most commonly abused prescription drugs fall into three categories: Opiates (such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet), Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium), and Stimulants (such as Adderall and Ritalin). In 2005, a government report estimated that twenty percent of all Americans had been using prescribed medications for nonmedical reasons. Many illegal drug addicts find prescription medications appealing because they are synthetic, potent and pure when acquired from pharmacies. Natural tolerance to prescription medications builds over time. Even individuals who take prescription drugs for justified medical reasons may begin to increase pill consumption gradually, resulting in addiction. Even though this starts out innocently, individuals will begin to display behaviors associated with prescription drug addiction. We recommend coming to our drug rehab center for detox and treatment if you are addicted and display any type of withdrawal when discontinuing prescription drug use.
Prescription Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
Opiate medications are generally found in pain relievers, anesthetics and cough suppressants. When a person is in legitimate pain, opiate medications bind to opiate receptors and decrease pain. If pain is not present and/or opiates are not taken as prescribed, the medication will produce a euphoric effect. Chronic opiate addiction can create devastating physical complications such as stomach bleeding, kidney damage, liver damage, nervous system damage, decreased libido, respiratory damage or death. Once the body becomes dependent on opiates, not having opiates will produce extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepines are typically prescribed to treat insomnia, anxiety, seizures and moderate to severe stress. When abused, they can create a sense of euphoria, vivid visuals, full body highs and relaxation. Ambien, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium and Xanax are the most commonly abused benzodiazepines. Most people will become reliant on these medications to change their physical state but never resolve underlying issues that may be contributing to their need for them. Those who are dependent on benzodiazepines will appear to be either in a state of constant stress or panic, or on the other extreme too relaxed.
Chronic benzodiazepine use creates a protracted withdrawal. This means that even after the initial detox, which can last up to 14 days, an individual may suffer from depression, anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, neurological and musculoskeletal problems for several months.
Stimulants speed up the functions of an individual’s brain and body. They are generally prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and chronic fatigue syndrome. These drugs can increase energy, cause wakefulness, decrease appetite or induce euphoria. Chronic stimulant abuse produces adverse effects such as hallucinations, repetitive behaviors and sleep deprivation which can lead to psychotic episodes, malnutrition and digestive problems. Stimulants are popular among students as study and test-taking aids because they allow the user to maintain energy and concentration over an extended period of time. The most commonly abused stimulants are Adderall and Ritalin.
Prescription Drug Detox
Opiate, benzodiazepine, and stimulant addictions all require inpatient medical detox in order to safely stop using the medications. Prescription drug abuse has an adverse impact on an individual’s mental and physical health, therefore inpatient medical detox should be followed by inpatient rehab in order to stabilize the recovering addict. Many people who suffer from prescription drug addiction may have chronic pain issues or mental health issues that require medications. A good medical detox program is able to address these issues without the use of addictive medications.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
After being stabilized in inpatient drug rehab, the addict should attend residential rehab to learn new coping skills for pain management, mental health management and relapse prevention. During this process, the addict receives an individualized treatment plan that addresses any underlying issues that have contributed to the addiction.