Prescription Drug Abuse: Addiction, Types, and Treatment
Anytime an individual is prescribed dangerous prescription drugs, they run the risk of becoming addicted to them. Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse isn’t just for people who have been prescribed them, either—they’ve become the substance of choice for many, including teens. Keep reading to learn more about prescription drug abuse, including signs, effects, and more.
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Misuse of prescription drugs means taking a medication in a manner or dose other than prescribed; taking someone else’s prescription, even if for a legitimate medical complaint such as pain; or taking a medication to feel euphoria (i.e., to get high), according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Some statistics surrounding prescription drug abuse include:
- Misuse of prescription drugs is highest among young adults ages 18 to 25, with 14.4 percent reporting nonmedical use in the past year.
- After alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, prescription drugs (taken nonmedically) are among the most commonly used drugs by 12th graders.
- An estimated 18 million people (more than 6 percent of those aged 12 and older) have misused medications at least once in the past year.
- An estimated 2 million Americans misused prescription pain relievers for the first time within the past year, which averages to approximately 5,480 initiates per day.
- Youth who misuse prescription medications are also more likely to report the use of other drugs.
- More than 80 percent of older patients (ages 57 to 85 years) use at least one prescription medication on a daily basis.
Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse
If you are taking dangerous prescription drugs, you might wonder at some point, “How do I know if I am addicted to my prescription meds?” Addiction can creep up at any time during the use of prescription medications, even under the supervision of your doctor. This makes it very important to know the signs and symptoms of prescription opioid abuse.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Drug-seeking behavior, such as multiple prescriptions at multiple pharmacies
- Taking more than the recommended dose
- Unable to stop or slow use
- Turning to the black market to obtain drugs
- Isolation from friends and family
- Finding yourself constantly defending your use of the drugs
- Drug use interfering with your daily responsibilities
- Symptoms of withdrawal when it’s been too long since your last dose
- Concern has been expressed to you by friends, family, and loved ones
Effects Of Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drugs are a tool to help individuals suffering from certain conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, or panic disorders. However, when they are misused, they can cause dangerous side effects. The effects of prescription drug abuse include:
- Worsening of the original condition. When taken for too long, prescription drugs can make the user less tolerant of pain and cause their anxiety or depression symptoms to worsen.
- Interference with work and family life. When an individual’s prescription drug abuse starts getting in the way of their job and their family life, life-long consequences can take place, such as financial problems, divorce, strained parent-child relationships, and much more.
- Appearance. Prescription drug abuse can alter one’s appearance due to weight loss or weight gain, sleep issues, skin problems, hygiene, and more.
- Death. Overdose is very likely when an individual is abusing prescription drugs. This is because the body’s respiratory system slows down so much that the individual’s heart stops beating and lungs stop breathing, leading to death.
Teen Prescription Drug Abuse
Teenagers have lowered inhibitions naturally, which allows them to take riskier behaviors. This opens the door to drug use, particularly prescription drug abuse. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), our brains continue to develop until we reach our early- to mid-twenties. During adolescence, the prefrontal cortex further develops to enable us to set priorities, formulate strategies, allocate attention, and control impulses. The outer mantle of the brain also experiences a burst of development, helping us to become more sophisticated at processing abstract information and understanding rules, laws, and codes of social conduct. Drug use impacts perception—a skill adolescent brains are actively trying to cultivate—and can fracture developing neural pathways.
About Seasons in Malibu
Prescription drug abuse is dangerous and can cause life-long consequences, including death. If you or a loved one is addicted to dangerous prescription drugs, even if you suffer from ongoing chronic pain, we can help you.
At Seasons In Malibu, we firmly understand your underlying issues and figure out what’s motivating you to use drugs. To accomplish that goal, we offer more individual therapy sessions in 30 days than any other drug rehabilitation or alcohol rehab center in the country. In addition, 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 can succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus that will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. The medical, psychiatric, and psychotherapy staff members at Seasons In Malibu are among the best in their fields—many of whom have been called upon to provide their expert opinions and insights by the national media and academic publications.
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com