When people think of addiction, they think of alcoholism or illicit drugs. And while these are two big problems in our society today, there is another prevailing problem, and that is prescription drug addiction. The risk for prescription drug addiction can increase when these substances are used in ways other than intended or prescribed. Doctors, patients and pharmacologists can all play a part in preventing prescription drug addiction. Painkillers are the most commonly abused, but there are plenty classes of prescription drugs that can lead to addiction, even if they are never explicitly abused by the person who takes them.
Which Medications Are Addictive?
Pain relief medications are the most common form of abused prescription drugs. There are medications prescribed by doctors that, when used in large doses, can have the same effects as some of the most popular illegal drugs. These medications are usually only provided after surgery or to those with chronic pain, but there are those who obtain them illegally. Again, this not the only class of medication that is subject to drug misuse and abuse. Here are some of the most commonly abused medications:
Depressants – These range from barbiturates that are specifically used for as sedatives to benzodiazepines, which are often prescribed for anxiety issues. Sleep medications are also a big part of this class of abused medications. Xanax and Valium are some of the most popular.
Opioids – Opioids are commonly prescribed for some kind of pain. Like morphine, they relieve pain, but also cause drowsiness and muscle weakness. These are especially dangerous to abuse because they can wreak havoc on the respiratory and cardiac symptoms. Vicodin, OxyContin and Hydrocodone are all readily available and highly addictive.
Stimulants – While stimulants are less commonly prescribed than opioids, they may sometimes be prescribed to help with attention problems or in small doses to help individuals lose weight, as they are an appetite suppressant. Some examples of these medications include Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta.
Treatment for prescription drug abuse
Treatment for prescription drug addiction is similar to the treatment employed for other types of addictions. Because many of these medications might be prescribed for chronic issues, patients and medical professionals should work together to find a medication that does not simply further the addiction, but actually manage the pain instead.
While sobriety is the goal, it requires time and dedication to get through the recovery process. The addict's brain needs time to recover from changes that occurred because of the addiction. Their bodies need to return to normal, and during this time, the cravings can be very intense. It takes a combination of detox, intense therapy and relapse prevention training to get the individual back on the right path. Sobriety can be maintained by making a conscious effort to evade triggers and by learning new, more positive behaviors and coping skills to deal effectively with temptation.
For more information about prescription drug abuse and addiction, contact White Plains drug treatment centers today at (914) 368-0277.