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Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in the United States. More than 15 million people in the United States have a prescription drug addiction. The total number of Americans who have problems with drugs is a little over 23 million. Therefore, prescription drug addiction makes up more than 65 percent of all drug addiction cases in the United States. Additionally, more people use prescription drugs than the combined number of people who use inhalants, cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens. Furthermore, prescription drug overdoses cause more deaths than any other drug overdoses cause.

Why Is Prescription Drug Abuse so Dangerous?

Addiction to any substance is dangerous, but prescription drug abuse is especially risky because of the addicted person’s access. Patients with certain ailments have immediate and easy access to highly addictive prescription medications. For example, a doctor may prescribe pain medication to a person who complains of chronic back pain. Such medication can cause a habit in as little as one to two weeks of time. The person with the back pain can receive more medication by claiming to have continuous or relentless back pain. Additionally, family members can get prescription drugs that are within a household by stealing them. The ease of access makes teenage addiction a high possibility.

Types of Prescription Drugs

Many types of prescription drugs exist, but not all of them have addiction potential. The most common prescription drugs to which people become addicted are opioids. Opioids are a class of painkiller medications that affect the opioid receptors in the brain. Some of the most common opiate pills are Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, morphine and codeine. Codeine comes in mixed pills such as Tylenol 3, and morphine comes in a pill by itself. Specialists prescribe these pills to people who are in pain. Common reasons for an opioid drug prescription are back pain, migraines, surgical pain and tooth pain.

  • Benzodiazepines are other prescription drugs that are highly addictive. Some popular brand names of benzodiazepines are Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin. Doctors prescribe these drugs for a wide variety of reasons such as anxiety disorders, sleep problems, convulsions and alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are not as addictive as opiate pills are, but they are extremely dangerous. In fact, an addicted person who tries to stop taking benzodiazepines on his or her own may have convulsions or seizures. Benzodiazepines are easier to purchase on the street because they cost much less than opiates cost. The average illegal opiate pill costs $5 to $30, while a benzodiazepine costs $2 to $5.
  • Muscle relaxants are another class of prescription drugs to which people may become addicted. Examples of muscle relaxants are Soma and Flexeril. A doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant to a person that has chronic back spasms and pain. Some muscle relaxants have slightly euphoric or tranquilizing effects that may be desirable to a person.
  • Antidepressants are drugs that doctors prescribe to people who have depression problems. These individuals may have deficits of serotonin or other brain chemicals. Examples of antidepressants that a doctor may prescribe are Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil and Wellbutrin. Such pills can cause addiction because of the positive changes that they cause in the brain. Some people report that they feel happier than they have ever felt in their life on antidepressants. Addiction to antidepressants is less common than addiction to the aforementioned pill types.

Signs of Addiction

Prescription drug addiction usually causes fierce physical side effects. These side effects are one of the first signs that a person uses to identify addiction. Nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, diarrhea, sweating and trembling are some common physical signs of prescription drug addiction. The addiction could cause psychological problems such as depression, irritability and anxiety, as well. Some prescription drug withdrawals are life threatening, and they require the assistance of a professional.

Inpatient: The Best Type of Treatment

Inpatient treatment is the best type of treatment for prescription drug addiction. Prescription drug addiction is an addiction that requires an extensive multi-tiered treatment approach. Additionally, an addicted person needs to be in a safe environment that excludes negative social circles. An inpatient facility can provide the aforementioned services.

Finding a Facility for Prescription Drug Addiction

Getting help from a specialized facility requires only a phone call. Finding the right facility requires a bit of research. An interested friend or family member can locate a rehabilitation facility using a number of methods. The most common methods are help hotlines, doctors’ referrals, insurance company representatives and online searches. A prospective patient will want to visit a facility first to gauge its cleanliness, staff size, resources and customer service practices. A good rule-of-thumb practice is to examine at least three facilities before choosing one. The facility with the most positive aspects and the most tools for recovery should prevail.