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Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem that many people don't take as seriously as they should. Since the medications were originally prescribed by a doctor, they feel that prescription drug abuse is different than when the person is using street drugs. Prescription drug addicts are addicted, in the same way that those who get hooked on cocaine, heroin, or other types of illegal drugs are.
A prescription drug addict uses medications in a way other than for which they were originally prescribed or to a much greater extent. They come to depend on the drugs to feel better in some way, and experience cravings for them in between doses. The prescription drug use continues in spite of negative consequences for the user, including relationship difficulties, problems on the job, or the risk of physical harm from inappropriate use.
The signs of addiction to prescription drugs include the following:
Prescription medications are drugs and they work on the user's brain in the same way their illegal counterparts do. When a person who is addicted to prescription drugs uses them, the medication changes the brain's chemistry, making it less effective at producing chemicals like dopamine or endorphins. Since the brain has stopped producing these chemicals itself, they must be introduced through another source. At this point, the prescription drug addict has become physically dependent on the medication.
Seniors are especially at risk for prescription drug addictions, simply because they are prescribed drugs more often that other groups. For example, a doctor may prescribe a tranquilizer after they have experienced a traumatic event, such as the death of their spouse. The person feels calmer and is able to sleep better with the medication, so they take it more often than the doctor directs. When they run out, they go back to the doctor for another prescription, and this is how the addiction starts.
A person who is addicted to prescription drugs may experience the following:
When it comes to prescription drug addictions, the most important complication that you need to be aware of is drug interaction. If your doctor or pharmacist is not aware of everything you are taking, they may give you a medication that will produce side effects when combined with your prescription medication. Vitamins and herbal remedies fall into this category as well.
When you consume alcohol and prescription drugs, the combination of the two can produce some nasty side effects. If you are taking a sedative or a painkiller and drink alcohol, the combination of the two may affect the central nervous system, leading to respiratory distress or failure, or even death.
A rehab center can help with prescription drug treatment including interventions, detox, rehabilitation and recovery. Inpatient therapy means that any medications given are closely monitored while an addict gets help.
Browse the links below to find local rehab facilities offering specialized care, or call 1-866-675-4912.
Follow-up care after inpatient rehabilitation treatment can include individual or group therapy sessions, as well as a 12-step program, like Narcotics Anonymous or Neurotics Anonymous. A patient can also opt for Addiction Wellness Coaching, or seek the comfort of being with fellow recovering addicts within Addiction Support Groups.
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