Typically, when someone refers to drug addiction, many people automatically think about illicit substances such as cocaine, heroin or crystal meth. However, millions of people who have a drug addiction struggle with their misuse of prescription drugs. This is because even drugs that are medically prescribed to treat a specific medical condition are strong and can have significant side effects even when taken properly.
When these medications are prescribed, the doctor often warns the patient of the potential side effects they might experience. Usually, the drug is prescribed because the doctor believes the benefits outweigh the risks. In some cases, the dosage of the drug might also be adjusted based on the patient’s condition, age, body composition, weight, other medications they take and more.
What Are the Most Addictive Prescription Drugs?
By now, everyone has heard about the opioid crisis in the United States. Opioids are among the most highly prescribed drugs to treat severe, chronic pain. Unfortunately, they are also the most addictive prescription drugs available. Even if a person is taking them to treat pain that comes with a legitimate medical condition, it’s possible to quickly become addicted due to the side effects that come with opioid use. The drugs have a direct effect on the brain, altering the neurotransmitters and sending different messages that the person might find pleasurable.
Unfortunately, while many people take opioids to combat their chronic pain, it’s all too easy for them to become addicted. As a result, they might find themselves abusing the drug simply to get that “high” feeling in their brains. Once a person starts taking opioids, they are more vulnerable to the effects as the receptors in their brains are altered. Opioid drugs include oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl.
Stimulant drugs are also commonly prescribed to treat medical conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. They include amphetamine-type drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. As these prescription drugs are used to treat legitimate medical conditions, they also have the propensity of being highly addictive. They affect the chemicals in the brain in a similar manner as cocaine.
People who develop an addiction to prescription stimulant drugs often abuse them for specific purposes such as cramming long hours for a big exam or to excel in sports competition. They might find themselves abusing the drug on occasion at first, but then that can snowball and they could find that they have a serious addiction.
The category of prescription drugs known as depressants gives a calming, relaxing effect. Doctors typically prescribe medications such as alprazolam, diazepam and lorazepam to treat people who suffer from anxiety or depression. The drugs have an effect on the central nervous system that relieves many of the symptoms associated with those mental health conditions. While people take the drugs to treat their conditions, they might end up developing a dependency in the process.
When Does Regular Use of Prescription Drugs Become Addiction?
It’s normal for prescription drugs to have a certain effect on the brain. This is necessary so that the drug can have the intended effect for its medical use. However, when substances are taken over a long period of time, even if they have been legally prescribed by a doctor, or if the person takes excessive doses instead of the amount intended, it can result in adverse effects. Some prescription drugs give off more of a pleasurable feeling, which can lead to a physical dependence on them. Others can become psychologically addictive.
The brain reacts a certain way to prescription drugs. A person might not even believe they are achieving the effect it was meant to give, which can lead to them taking larger doses or more of the medication. This ends up altering their tolerance for the drug. However, when the person stops taking the drug, they might end up developing unpleasant and even painful withdrawal symptoms. Then, they need more and more of the prescription drug in order to feel normal and even function.
What Are the Signs That You Have an Addiction to Prescription Drugs?
Individuals who have a prescription drug addiction often exhibit certain signs. They might have some physical and emotional side effects as well as behaviors that are uncharacteristic for them. These signs should serve as a huge wakeup to anyone who has taken prescription drugs as they could have a problem and need help. Signs of prescription drug addiction include the following:
• Taking more of the drug or taking it at higher doses than prescribed
• Poor decision-making
• Extreme mood swings such as irritability, hostility and sadness
• Being too highly energetic or overly tired and sedated
• Stealing or forging prescriptions
• Claiming to have lost prescriptions and needing more
• Getting prescriptions from more than one doctor
If you have a prescription drug addiction and are ready to get help, don’t hesitate any longer. Call us today at 833-820-2922.