Prescription drug abuse is a dangerous new trend for substance abusers. Many people who abuse medication believe that these drugs are safer than those found on the street. The truth is that many prescription drugs share chemical similarities with illicit drugs. High concentrations of these chemicals make prescription medications even more dangerous than their illegal counterparts. Additionally, abusing medical drugs can lead to abusing other drugs.
Find treatment if you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs. Contact Saint Louis Drug Treatment Centers at (314) 558-2297 for help finding centers and to hear more options.
As its name implies, this particular type of abuse involves the use of a prescription medication in a way that is not intended by the prescribing doctor. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, prescription medications are one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. In fact, they go on to state that it is abused at a rate that is second only to marijuana.
Nearly any type of medication can be abused in some way. However, the vast majority of abused prescription drugs come in three categories. These include opioids, sedatives, and stimulants.
Opioids are medications that are used to relieve pain. The most commonly prescribed ones include morphine, codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, and fentanyl. Prescribed to relieve a variety of painful conditions, opioids reduce the body's pain signals and diminish the effects of pain.
Sedatives, also known as CNS depressants or tranquilizers, slow brain activity. They are often prescribed for anxiety and sleeping disorders. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium are among the most commonly abused. Other sedatives that are commonly abused include Ambien, Lunesta, and Nembutal.
Stimulants, as their name suggests, stimulate several areas of the body and increase alertness, attention, and energy. While these medications were once used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, today they are only used for a select few such as ADHD and narcolepsy. This decrease in their use as prescription medication is due to the fact that they are so easy to become addicted to.
The signs and symptoms of the abuse of prescription drugs varies greatly. They largely depend on the type of drug being abused and the person abusing it. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you get your loved one into treatment sooner, or help you identify whether your recreational drug use has gotten out of control.
Symptoms of opioid abuse often include:
Symptoms of sedative abuse often include:
Symptoms of stimulants abuse often include:
There are also a variety of signs to look for that span every type of prescription drug. These include stealing, forging of prescriptions, taking higher doses than intended, excessive mood swings, increase or decrease in sleep, and appearing to be high.
There are a wide variety of drug treatments available that are designed specifically for those with prescription drug addiction or another problem with abusing prescription drugs. Most of these are individually tailored to the specific drug in question.
Treatment programs often start with a carefully monitored medical detoxification to get the patient safely off the drug. After this, individual and group therapy is provided to prevent the possibility of relapse. Long-term care and support is also available to increase the chances of long-term success.