Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs are licensed medications or medicines that are regulated by government legislation, meaning patients must have medical prescriptions issued by health care professionals in order to obtain them. Taking prescription drugs without a prescription, or sharing prescription drugs with friends, is illegal and can lead to addiction.
While many prescription drugs are highly beneficial for a variety of health problems, the abuse of prescription drugs can pose serious health risks and, in some cases, addiction. The abuse of prescription drugs occurs when they are taken by someone other than the patient for whom they were prescribed or taken in a manner or dosage other than that which was directed by a doctor.
The most commonly abused medications can be broken down into three classes: opioids (used to treat pain), central nervous system depressants (used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders) and stimulants (used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy). Opioid drugs flood the system with dopamine thus producing an euphoric rush. For some, this is an irresistible sensation. The brain responds to an over-use of pain killers by increasing the number of receptors for the drug, and nerve cells cease to function normally. In addition, the body stops producing natural endorphins now that it has the opioids to deal with pain.
Those addicted to prescription pain medications may experience the following symptoms; feel the need to steal, forge or sell prescriptions, take higher doses than prescribed, have excessive mood swings or hostility towards others, increase or decrease in sleep, poor decision making, appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up, or sedated continually “losing” prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written, seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor, constipation, depression, low blood pressure, decreased breathing rate, confusion, sweating and poor coordination. A sudden discontinuation of the use of opioids causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, sweating, back and bone pain, and an intense craving for the drug.
There are several health risks associated with prescriptionn drug abuse including; organ damage, failure of the kidneys, liver, increased mental health problems, paranoia, depression and decreased cognitive function. Yet, each drug class comes with its own set of risks. Long-Term prescription drug users will have many health risks that include: Organ damage and failure, especially to the kidneys and liver, tolerance to the medication leading to physical dependence, psychological addiction and cravings, mental health symptoms like paranoia and depression and decreased cognitive function. The abuse of prescription drugs increases one’s risk of overdose, as abusers often take improper doses or change routes of administration, thus flooding their systems with large amounts of drugs all at once and without regard to factors such as height, weight, age and rate of absorption.
Rehabilitation & Recovery
Prescription drug addiction treatment programs should always be comprehensive, addressing all the patient’s needs and characteristics, not just those associated with addiction. Treament must take into account the type of drug and the needs of the individual. Successful treatment programs may include detoxification, behavioral treatment to ease withdrawal symptoms and lessen one’s chances of relapse.
If you or someone you know struggles with prescription drug addiction, Hopes Gate’s customized programs can help! Once the detoxification phase is complete, the patient will typically begin behavioral therapy, such as individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, community reinforcement, cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychotherapy. It has been shown that long-term maintenance therapy allows an individual to function normally in society.
Hopes Gate has the expertise to administer effective treatments that will return a loved one to his/her family with the ability to retain a job and have meaningful friendships. We believe there is nothing more important than giving a person the promise of a future filled with promise and joy.
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