Millions of Americans take prescription medications each year. These drugs treat physical and psychological disorders to help people manage their health problems. When used properly, prescription drugs can be extremely beneficial, but when misused or abused, these drugs are highly dangerous. Many prescription medications can be addictive, and if abused they can cause people to develop life-threatening addictions. Therefore, it is essential that every person that uses prescription medications understand the risk factors related to the drugs they use, and that they take specific steps to avoid becoming addicted to drugs.
Frequency of Prescription Medication Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is a major problem in the US. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that, in 2012, about 6.8 million people aged 12 and over had abused prescription medications at least once in the previous year. This type of drug abuse is one of the most common in America, and it is second only to marijuana abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also mentions that the following kinds of prescription medications are most often abused:
- Depressants treat sleep and anxiety disorders, and these drugs include barbiturates and benzodiazepines
- Opioids are prescribed for pain relief, and they include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone
- Stimulants help with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and they include dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate
If you abuse any of these drugs, then seek professional help to get and stay clean.
Types of Prescription Medication Abuse
Nearly all prescription drugs have specific guidelines for how to use them. The easiest way for to avoid developing an addiction to a prescription medication is to follow the doctor’s recommended dosages. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, people that abuse prescription medications take drugs in one of the following ways:
- Without a prescription
- Any way other than prescribed
- For the feeling or experience that the drug creates
Any time a person abuses a prescription medication, they are significantly increasing their risk of developing an addiction. Like other drugs, it’s impossible to tell if and when an addiction will develop. Some people abuse prescription medications one time and become addicted to them. Others abuse them for years before they develop addictions. Each instance of prescription medication abuse has the potential to create an addiction, so it is always dangerous to abuse these substances.
While many people become addicted to prescription medications by abusing them, it is also possible for people to develop addictions or physical dependences even when they are using medications as prescribed. To avoid addiction and prescription drug abuse, people should discuss the medication’s side effects and potential for addiction with their doctors. Furthermore, users should also be aware of the following signs of addiction or dependence:
- Developing a tolerance to the medication
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms when stopping or reducing medication use
- Compulsively seeking the medication even when doing so is dangerous or harmful
If a person experiences any of the above symptoms, they should contact their doctor immediately, as they may be developing an addiction or dependence to their medication.
Information About Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription medications help many people that use them correctly, but they can be addictive. A person that abuses prescription drugs is significantly increasing their likelihood of developing an addiction, which can cause permanent damage to their mind and body. Our staff can also help you find an addiction treatment option that meets your needs so give us a call at 615-490-9376 to learn more about your options.