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Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem that causes long-standing health, emotional, and social problems. Many people mistakenly believe that recreational use of prescribed medications is safer than that of street drugs. However, prescription drugs are powerful and can easily cause addiction.
The leading types of prescription medications that are commonly abused are painkillers, tranquilizers and stimulants. While the U.S. makes up only five percent of the population of the world, Americans consume 75 percent of the world’s consumption of prescription medications.
Prescription drug abuse and addiction requires extensive treatment and medical detox. For more information on prescription drug abuse treatment, contact Drug Treatment Centers Rahway at (732) 455-1391.
Abuse of pharmaceutical medications occurs when a person uses a medication for any purpose other than its intended purpose, takes a medication in a way other than prescribed by a doctor or uses medication that is intended for someone else in order to get high. Addiction to prescription drugs occurs when a physical or psychological dependency develops, causing the addict to lose control of the ability to stop taking a drug.
Any type of pharmaceutical medication can be abused, however some drugs are much more addictive than others. Examples of medications that are commonly abused include:
Some common behaviors that indicate a person is addicted to prescription medications include seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor or “doctor shopping,” experiencing mood swings or agitation, stealing medications from others, taking more medication than is prescribed, or continuously running out or “losing” medication in-between refills.
Symptoms of addiction to medications can vary widely depending on what type of medication is being abused. Some signs of addiction include elation or depression, a high tolerance to the drug, experiencing withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of not taking the drug, unexplained weight loss or gain, excessive drowsiness or activity, and insomnia.
Psychological addiction to pharmaceuticals can happen in as little as 48 hours. Prescription medications, such as opiates, stimulants and tranquilizers are so very addictive because they actually change the way a person’s brain releases chemicals. Additionally, neurotransmitters and opioid receptors in the brain can be affected, changing the way a person experiences joy and pain for years after drug use stops.
Over time, the brain becomes dependent on the drug in order to perform normal activities. For instance, some types of drugs such as meth, actually cause the brain to stop releasing dopamine without the drug. This is why meth addicts can experience severe depression for up to two years following recovery. It can take this long for this function to return.
Health-risks from prescription drug use include accidental overdose and death, increased or weak heart rate, irreversible organ damage to the kidneys and liver, paranoia, depression, seizures and brain damage. Of course, after repeated use severe withdrawal symptoms occur. Withdrawal can be more than uncomfortable, it can be deadly if attempted without proper medical supervision. Stimulants can cause extreme weight loss, dehydration and chronic insomnia.
Not all addictions are treated in the same manner. Examples of specific treatments include:
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