Ideally, prescription drugs are safe if they are used as per the doctor’s directives. But some people grow psychologically accustomed to them, believing that if they do not take these, they would have to endure physical discomfort. Still others tend to use these recreationally or in combination with other prescription drugs and/or alcohol. This is known as prescription drug abuse and it significantly increases the chances of a person becoming addicted to the drug.

Taking an excess of prescription drugs, like sleeping pills, stimulants, painkillers, tranquilizers, and/or benzodiazepines, creates a high. Prescription drug abuse is the act of consuming prescription drugs even when they are no longer needed and in quantities not medically prescribed to achieve a euphoric feeling. In the case of severe addiction, people grind the pills and snort or inject them directly into the bloodstream.

Prescription drug abuse is a dangerous practice. Medicines are to be consumed in a certain way so that their active ingredients are released slowly. However, when an individual consumes more than the prescribed limit, they force the medicines to release their active ingredients in one go or in excess, running the risk of overdosing.

Another class of drugs that is commonly abused are over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, primarily cough syrups. These contain dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant and acetaminophen (painkiller) which when taken in large amounts can lead to mind-altering effects and damage the liver. Cough suppressants are also known to slow down breathing, thereby, putting an individual’s life at risk.

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Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

The abuse of different classes of drugs leads to varied symptoms. Here is a list of symptoms associated with the abuse of specific groups of drugs:

  • Stimulants: The symptoms associated with stimulant abuse include agitation, elevated body temperature, insomnia, anxiety, and irregular heartbeats. This class of medicine causes increased alertness, energy and attention. It also increases the heart and respiration rate.
  • Opioid painkillers: Symptoms of opioid abuse include constipation, nausea, muscle cramps, constipation, drowsiness, and slowed breathing. These are addictive in nature as they bind with the receptors in the brain and the spinal cord making one believe that they are not in pain.
  • Sedatives: The symptoms of sedative abuse include confusion, slurred speech, memory problems, and walking unsteadily. This class of drugs calms the central nervous system by reducing brain activity.
  • Benzodiazepines: Symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse include personality changes, disturbed sleeping patterns, and cognitive difficulties. These also help calm the brain.

Other symptoms of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Severe mood swings
  • Stealing or lying to get the next fix
  • Large quantities of discarded medicine boxes
  • Altered behavior: too energetic or unusually dull
  • Changed sleeping patterns: either sleeping too much or too little

Visiting different doctors for the same ailment in order to get more than the required prescription. Also known as doctor shopping.

Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

When abused, prescription drugs can increase the level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, creating a feeling of euphoria. As dopamine plays a fundamental role in the brain’s reward system, prolonged use of any drug that raises its level can rewire the brain into believing that it needs that drug to function.

Prescription drug addiction has both short- and long-term effects. Long-term snorting of drugs can permanently damage the lungs. It can also lead to chronic problems. Abstaining from prescription drugs causes painful withdrawal symptoms like fatal seizures, muscle spasms, insomnia, anxiety, and behavioral changes.

Seeking Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug addiction has become a widespread problem in the U.S. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 11.4 million people abused opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers, in the past year.

Specializing in addiction, mental health, and dual-diagnosis treatment, Invictus Health Group can help an individual lead a life free from addiction. Our network of treatment centers make use of comprehensive drug addiction treatment programs that utilize prescription drugs detox treatment along with a number of other evidence-based procedures and experiential therapies to treat prescription drug abuse.

Why choose Invictus Health Group?

Invictus Health Group understands that an addiction is dangerous as it can be life-changing. Therefore, we partner with treatment centers that are committed to providing a safe and effective substance abuse treatment modality to ensure lasting recovery.

The substance abuse treatment plans are personalized and address the addiction and the underlying cause, whether it be pain or a mental disorder. Detox programs are conducted in a safe and medically supervised environment to ensure effective management of withdrawal symptoms. Patients are hand-held not only during treatment but also beyond that to ensure that their recovery is sustained.

For more information on how Invictus Health Group can help you or a loved one overcome their addiction, call our 24/7 helpline at 866-548-0190 and talk to an admission specialist. You can also chat online to a representative to understand the various options available to lasting drug recovery.

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