What are the Dangers of Addiction to Prescription Drugs?
Prescription drugs can be a helpful tool when taken as prescribed under the supervision of a medical professional for many reasons. It can help individuals recover from surgery, a painful injury, assist with anxiety or depression symptoms to help live a normal life, and more. However, no matter how well-intentioned you may be while taking prescription medication, there is always a risk of becoming addicted to them. Learn more about what the dangers of addiction to prescription drugs are, and signs that you or a loved one has become addicted.
Dangers of Addiction to Prescription Drugs: Physical Problems
Becoming addicted to prescription drugs can bring along many physical health issues. Some of these include:
- Respiratory issues. Drugs that are smoked, such as marijuana or crack cocaine, can cause respiratory issues such as lung cancer, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. In addition, opioids – including prescription opioids – cause respiratory depression which can lead to death.
- Cardiovascular problems. Most drugs cause cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart disease, collapsed veins due to injection, and more.
- Liver failure. Almost all drugs and all alcohol pass through the liver, making it extremely susceptible to problems. Liver cancer, fatty liver, and liver failure are all issues that can stem from an addiction to prescription drugs.
- Gastrointestinal issues. One of the first signs of withdrawal from drugs and alcohol, including prescription drugs, includes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, opioid use can cause extreme constipation. All of these things can lead to bowel tissue decay.
Psychological Issues from Addiction to Prescription Drugs
Damages to the brain are the biggest dangers of addiction to prescription drugs. Prescription drugs can cause long-term damage to the brain, which is not always reversible. Compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, with the reverse also true. An individual can suffer from psychological issues for the rest of their life due to the damage produced by prescription drugs. Some of these include:
In addition, people who are addicted to prescription drugs can suffer from many negative consequences due to their addiction, which can cause psychological issues. These can include:
- Broken family structure
- Loss of job or career
- Divorce or other major relationship breakdowns
- Sexual trauma
- Irrecoverable financial problems
The biggest danger of addiction to prescription drugs is death. Taking prescription drugs in excess can cause the body to become more tolerant of their effects. This causes the user to take even more, which leads to a dependence on the drug. The more drugs that are taken, the higher the risk for overdose becomes.
Unless help is readily available in the form of Narcan or another individual present to call emergency personnel, most overdoses lead to death. An individual can spiral into this pattern within just days of first taking prescription drugs.
Signs of Addiction to Prescription Drugs
One of the most important things you can do to help combat the dangers of addiction to prescription drugs is to keep an eye on your own behavior, or the behavior of your loved ones, for the top signs of addiction. If you notice something is amiss either with your own behavior or that of your loved one, it is important to take steps right away toward getting help before it is too late.
- Taking more pills than prescribed
- Inability to slow, stop, or control use
- Continued use of the drug
- Drug-seeking behavior, which can include having multiple prescriptions being filled by multiple pharmacies with multiple doctors
- Mood and behavior changes, most notably increased aggression or anxiety
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Isolation from friends and family
- Taking drugs at inappropriate times in inappropriate doses
- New social circle
- Feeling physically ill when withdrawing from drugs
- Financial issues
- Denial or defensiveness when confronted about drug use
- Poor performance at work or school
About Seasons in Malibu
If you or a loved one has become addicted to prescription drugs, it is important you get help as soon as possible. Prescription drug overdose rates are rising, and the likelihood of one happening is extremely high.
Treatment at Seasons in Malibu is systemic, integrative, and client-centered. Our philosophy is grounded in the understanding that in order for the client to heal, the entire system needs the opportunity to heal along with them. The pressure to “fix” the client can become overwhelming and unrealistic if we do not examine the underlying issues, dynamics, and environmental influences that might be contributing to substance abuse or ongoing mental health issues. Whenever practical, we try to include close loved ones in sessions and in the entire process of recovering from addiction and/or addressing mental health issues.
It is a priority for us that our life-changing drug and alcohol treatment be available to the people who need it. We are fully familiar with how much strength and courage it takes to pick up the phone and ask for help. Our counselors are invested in your well-being and are ready around-the-clock to guide you or a trusted friend or family member through the initial steps of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction.
With our superior team of clinicians, we are able to succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus which will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive, and committed.
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com