Thousands of people die from prescription drug overdoses every year. Deaths from opioid painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, have quadrupled since 1999. This is a serious problem that deserves attention.
In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of prescription drug addiction, the signs and symptoms of addiction, and how to be aware of it. We hope that this information will help you to stay safe and find a drug rehab center to protect your loved ones from the dangers of prescription drug addiction.
What Are Prescription Drugs, And Why Are They Addictive?
Did you know that prescription drug addiction is one of the most common types of addiction in the United States? In fact, according to a report by SAMHSA, almost 11.9% of Americans aged 12 or older had an addiction to prescription drugs in 2019. This number has likely increased in recent years due to the opioid epidemic.
So what are prescription drugs? Let’s take a detailed look! Prescription drugs are medications prescribed by a physician. They are regulated by the FDA and are usually safe when used as directed. They are typically used to treat medical conditions that require treatment with medication. However, some prescription drugs can be addictive and can lead to abuse and addiction.
The most common types of addictive prescription drugs are opioids, sedatives, and stimulants. Opioids are painkillers that can produce feelings of pleasure and relaxation. Sedatives are drugs that cause drowsiness and help to reduce anxiety. Stimulants increase energy and alertness. Some people become addicted to prescription drugs because they enjoy the way the drugs make them feel.
Others may take larger doses of the drug than prescribed in order to get the same effect. Prescription drug addiction can lead to serious health problems, including organ damage, overdose, and death.
There are many reasons why people may become addicted to prescription drugs. For some people, the addictive qualities of the drug may be appealing. For others, the drug may be used to cope with underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. Whatever the reason, addiction to prescription drugs can be harmful and even life-threatening.
Causes Of Prescription Drug Addiction
One of the most difficult things about prescription drug addiction is that it can be so easy to get started. Perhaps you have been prescribed a medication for pain after an injury. The medication worked well at first, but over time you found that you needed more and more to achieve the same effect. Or maybe you started taking a friend’s prescription medication to help you study for finals and then found that it made it difficult to focus on anything else. Let’s discuss some major causes in detail!
One of the most common causes of prescription drug addiction is taking medication for pain relief. The NIDA reported in 2021 that about 9.3 million Americans were reported misusing painkillers. This makes a significant difference, isn’t it? Here’s why it happens!
When people are in pain, they want relief as soon as possible, and prescription drugs can provide that relief. However, pain medication is also highly addictive, and it can be easy to become reliant on it.
Another cause of prescription drug addiction is taking medication for anxiety or depression. These medications can help people feel better in the short term, but they can also be habit-forming. People who take these medications may find themselves needing higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect.
Finally, some people become addicted to prescription drugs after taking them for a legitimate medical condition. This can happen because the body becomes tolerant to the drug, meaning that higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect. Therefore, a drug rehab center can help people deal with these situations. They aim to promote drug recovery significantly.
Symptoms And Signs Associated With Prescription Drug Addiction
The most common signs resulting from prescription drug addiction include:
- Loss of control
- Continued use despite consequences
However, In prescription drug abuse signs and symptoms vary depending on which type of drug is being abused. The prescription drugs that are most frequently abused are as stimulants, opioids, and sedatives. Let’s take a closer look!
Stimulants are drugs that increase alertness, attention, and energy. Moreover, these stimulants can also treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder along with narcolepsy. Stimulants can be addictive and people who abuse them may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug. People who abuse stimulants may:
- Take more of the drug than prescribed or take it more often than prescribed
- Crush and snort pills or inject the drug
- Steal or fake prescriptions to get more of the drug
- Experience problems at work or school due to their use of the drug
- Have financial problems due to their use of the drug
- Engage in risky behaviors, such as driving while under the influence of the drug
An overdose of stimulants can be life-threatening and may include:
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Violent behavior
Opioids are a type of drug that includes both legal drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illegal drugs, such as heroin. Opioids also produce feelings of euphoria, which is why they are often abused. Opioid abuse can lead to a number of different symptoms, both physical and psychological. Physical symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed breathing
Psychological symptoms may include:
- Mood swings
An opioid overdose can be deadly. Signs of an overdose may include:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Seizures or muscle twitching
- Pinpoint pupils
- Cold, clammy skin
- Weak pulse
Sedatives are a type of medication that are typically used to help people sleep or relax. However, they can also be abused for their calming and euphoric effects. When misused, sedatives can lead to serious consequences, including addiction. People who abuse sedatives may exhibit a variety of different symptoms. Some of the more common ones include:
- Fatigue with drowsiness
- Impaired reflexes
- Slow coordination
- Memory issues
- Difficulty while concentrating
- Slurred speech
Dangers Of Prescription Drug Addiction
Did you know a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that more than 50% of young adults between 18 to 25 of their ages are abusing prescription drugs for no specific issues? This is a problem because prescription drug addiction can lead to serious health problems, including liver damage, heart problems, and seizures. It can cause overdose and death.
In addition, prescription drug addiction can lead to financial problems as people spend more money on drugs than they can afford. It can also result in relationship problems as people become less interested in activities that they used to enjoy.
Besides this, prescription drug abuse can cause legal problems as people may engage in illegal activities such as doctor shopping or forging prescriptions.
The opioid epidemic is a national emergency, and it’s time to start treating addiction like the disease it is. Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in the United States, with millions of people addicted to opioids. The earlier you get the drug recovery treatment, the better. And remember, there is no shame in seeking treatment. You are not alone.