Anyone who takes prescription drugs for non-medical reasons is abusing them. In the United States, 52 million people have engaged in prescription drug abuse in their lifetime, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and while Americans account for just five percent of the world’s population, we consume 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs.
Prescription drug abuse is largely misunderstood. Fifty percent of American adolescents believe that because prescription drugs are prescribed by a physician, they’re safer than street drugs. But the truth is, prescription drugs are responsible for 45 percent of all overdose deaths – more than heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine combined.
Prescription drug abuse can quickly lead to a full-blown addiction, and getting help from Drug Treatment Centers Pensacola is essential for the best chances of recovery. Treatment for prescription drug abuse begins with detoxification, followed by comprehensive treatment therapies. After treatment, an individualized aftercare program is set in place to help prevent relapse. Call us today at (850) 332-0874 to find out more about how we can help you overcome your dependence on prescription medication.
The most common prescription drugs abused are opiates, sedatives, and stimulants.
• Opiate painkillers work by binding to and blocking the receptors in the brain and spinal cord that transmit the sensation of pain. Opiate painkillers include morphine, Codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, and Fentanyl.
• Sedatives are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders and work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter GABA to slow down the nerve transmission in the body. Sedatives include benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin as well as non-benzo sleeping aids like Ambien and Lunesta. Barbiturates are a group of sedatives that include Nembutal and Seconal.
• Stimulants increase the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain to improve alertness and attention and increase energy. These medications include Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine.
Although each of the three different types of prescription drugs has specific symptoms of abuse, the general signs of prescription medication abuse include:
• Forging or stealing prescriptions.
• “Losing” prescriptions so that more must be written.
• Getting prescriptions from more than one doctor.
• Taking higher doses of a prescription than is prescribed.
• Excessive hostility or mood swings.
• An increase or decrease in sleep.
• Making poor decisions and engaging in risky behaviors.
• Appearing to be high, either “up” or “down.”
The short- and long-term health risks of abusing any given prescription drug vary, depending on the drug in question. But across all types of prescription drugs, abusers are at a high risk of health problems that include:
• Kidney and liver damage or failure.
• Developing a high tolerance for the drug, which leads to physical addiction, marked by the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when drug consumption stops.
• Becoming psychologically addicted to the medication.
• Increased mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and paranoia and losing the ability to be in full control of emotions.
• A decrease in overall cognitive function.
During the medical detox process, medications may be administered by a physician to help reduce cravings, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and sometimes shorten the duration of the withdrawal process.
Methadone to relieve general withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine to shorten the length of detox.
Naltrexone to help prevent relapse.
Sedative withdrawal must be performed over time by weaning the patient of the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Stopping sedatives “cold turkey” can result in dangerous shifts in body functions.
If you or a loved one suffer from prescription drug abuse or addiction, a comprehensive drug rehab program like the one offered at Drug Treatment Centers Pensacola can restore your health and your life. Call us today at (850) 332-0874 and start living again.
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