Prescription drug addiction can be a debilitating problem. While most people only take these drugs for their intended purpose and under the supervision of a doctor, almost 50 million people have used them for nonmedical purposes at some point – that is nearly a fifth of Americans.
Commonly Abused Medications
Virtually every prescription drug has the potential for abuse. However, the three most common types are:
- Opioids (which are prescribed to treat pain)For people with chronic pain, using opioids can dramatically improve their quality of life. In the short term, with a doctor’s help, these drugs are completely safe. However, long-term use can easily lead to addiction. They can even be life threatening, especially when used in conjunction with alcohol or other depressants.
- Depressants (which are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders)In the short term, these drugs can help a person calm down and get better sleep. However, tolerance to the drugs can build up, causing a person to need an increasing amount to have the same effect. After a long time, the body can become so dependent on the drugs that going cold turkey can be life threatening.
- Stimulants (which are prescribed to treat narcolepsy and ADD)Stimulants rev up your body, increasing heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure. They can be addictive, especially when people take them in too large of doses or crush the drugs to get high off of them. They can also cause irregular heart rhythms.
Recovering from Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drugs are often easier to access than illegal recreational drugs. People steal them out of others’ medicine cabinets or lie to a doctor about their symptoms to get a prescription for themselves.
These drugs can be extremely dangerous when taken recreationally, and can lead to serious long-term consequences.
When addicted to a prescription drug, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. At Canyon View, we have trained professionals who can help patients handle the withdrawal symptoms and learn new coping methods so they can move forward, only using these drugs for their intended purposes.