Prescription drugs are a major problem and societal epidemic. There are many people in this country who struggle with pain, depression, anxiety and other issues. They come to trusted doctors looking for relief and healing, and are prescribed highly addictive pills that do more harm than good. Though these drugs may (or may not) help in the short term, they cause bigger problems in the long run.
There are three basic classifications of prescription drugs that become abused. They are Opioids, Stimulants and Sedatives (CNS Depressants).
Opioids are synthetic drugs made from the Opium Poppy plant that are used to relieve pain. They are generally prescribed by doctors to patients who have come to them for assistance in reducing pain symptoms that have become too overwhelming or unmanageable throw other methods. Examples of these types of narcotic drugs are Methadone, Oxycodone (OxyContin), Percocet (Oxycodone with acetaminophen), Percodan (Oxycodone with aspirin), Meperidine(Demerol), Fentanyl (Duragesic), Hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin), Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER, Hysingla ER), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
These types of prescription drugs are used to address conditions of ADHD by improving attention and focus. They are intended to enhance cognition and elicit a “high feeling” when ingested. Because these drugs stimulate dopamine, the neurochemical responsible for euphoric pleasure in the brain, they are severely abused and very easy to become addicted. Examples of these drugs are Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Suprenza, among others).
These drugs are prescribed to address anxiety and sleeping disorders. By increasing a specific neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that slows down activity within the central nervous system, the user is made calm. These drugs bring about a sedated drowsy effect that many users find helpful to relax. Examples of these types of drugs are Xanax, Ambien, Valium, Mebaral and Nembutal.
Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drug addiction is not easy to identify in the beginning. There are no obvious signs that might alert someone that they, or a loved one has a problem. Users can go about their days normally and appear to be well adjusted with daily activities at work, home and other social arenas. However the longer someone continues to use, the more the signs will begin to manifest.
Here are general signs that someone might be abusing prescription drugs:
Ingesting more than the medically prescribed dosage
Notable tolerance to prescribed dosage leading to higher consumption to achieve desired effect
A desire to continue using medication even after original symptoms have subsided
Taking other people’s prescription medication or suspicious behavior to obtain medication
Exaggeration of, or creation of imaginary symptoms to get medication
Isolation and withdrawal from social groups (friends, family and professional circles)
Mood swings and other irregular behavior
Financial issues that may be the result of excessive purchase and use
Lack of desire to experiment with non-medication treatment options
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Drowsiness and Lethargy
Lack of desire to exercise
Shallow or poor breathing
Random sleeping habits
Cold and flu symptoms
Nausea and headaches
Bad Decisions / Habits
Difficulty with personal and professional Relationships
Jumpy or over-energetic
Fast and excessive speech
High blood pressure
High body temperature
Delusions and paranoia
Erratic heart beat
Random sleep patterns
Off balance or lack of steadiness
Prescription drugs are extremely dangerous to detox from and it is important that a qualified medical physician be on hand to properly supervise this process. The symptoms of withdrawal can vary and possibly become fatal. There are medications that can be used to help alleviate these symptoms of prescription drug detox. These medications are prescribed with care and professional contemplation. Supervised and managed by our medical staff.
Here are some of the symptoms one might experience while going through the detox process:
Effects of Prescription Detox
High Blood Pressure
Muscle cramps and discomfort
Chills and Sweats
Nausea and/or Vomiting
Muscle Pain and Discomfort
Loss of Appetite
High Blood Pressure
Irregular Heart Rate
Increased Body Temperature
Risks of Prescription Drug Addiction
Catching addiction early is crucial. Because addiction signs can be subtle, it is often the case that users will end up overdosing before they or their loved ones have even realized they have a problem.
With prolonged usage, the user will develop a tolerance causing them to increase dosages. These increases will not improve the efficacy of the drug, but will guarantee physical dependence on the drug. Once this dependence is established and the drug is not available the withdrawal symptoms discussed earlier will begin with cravings and other uncomfortable conditions. The psychological dependency is quite powerful and makes it almost impossible to stop using, even if someone wants to.
Opioids slow down breathing, and can stop a user’s breathing all together, causing death. Added to this is the disruption of heart rhythm which can also be life threatening. Opioids are also depressants that cause drowsiness and poor decision making. An overdose is triggered when the user consumes too much of the opioid thinking that more will reduce pain better. This is actually not necessarily true. More of an opioid does little to further reduce pain, but it absolutely does increase the chances of complications that can be fatal.
As a user increases the quantity and frequency of their amphetamine habit, they fall into a cycle of medicating and then crashing. Coming down from these drugs will often result in long episodes of depression, fatigue, anxiety and ultimately a craving for more. If a user makes the mistake of ingesting an extremely high dose of amphetamines, they are at serious risk of overdose which may lead to seizure, coma or even death.
CNS Depressant Risks
Sedatives present a high risk of accidental overdose. This can occur when a user ingests a first dosage, and then in a drowsy and confused state of mind, mistakenly ingests another dose. There is a fine line between the amount that allows one to sleep and the amount that can push someone over the edge towards death. Mixing sedatives with other substances like alcohol, other meds or heroin increases the risk of fatalities. This is never a good idea and the majority of these scenarios will often end in overdose complications or death.
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