Abuse of prescription pills is a growing problem in the United States. Prescription pill abuse occurs when medication with addictive properties is used in a way that was not intended by the prescribing doctor and could result in addiction or dangerous side-effects. Some ways prescription pills are misused are using someone else’s prescription, using your own medication at a dose or frequency that isn’t recommended, or grinding pills up to be ingested in a more dangerous fashion.
Prescription drug abuse often forces someone to use a pill meant to aid their health in a way that is compulsive and dangerous. The problem of prescription pill abuse affects all age groups and involves many different types of medication. Opioid painkillers, mental health medications, and stimulants are the most commonly abused categories of medication.
Detoxification and treatment for prescription pill abuse can be essential tools in overcoming this harmful addiction. At Intrepid Detox, we have all the resources necessary to help you detox from prescription drugs and get you back on the right track.
What is Prescription Pill Addiction?
Prescription pills are a vital part of our health industry but can also easily be abused. Statistics show that as many as 18-20 million people used prescription pills in a way not advised by their doctor. This represents as much as 7% of the population of the United States.
All controlled substances were made for a specific purpose and can be beneficial when used correctly. However, all drugs (even prescription drugs) can change how your brain works. Over time, these changes can affect judgment, self-control, and decision-making. Misuse can also lead to addiction, overdose, and other serious health issues. With most prescription pills, especially opioids, the more you take the more you crave.
Commonly Abused Prescription Medications
Any prescription pill can be abused if not taken in strict accordance with a physician’s orders. However, some categories of medication are significantly more likely to be abused.
Opioid prescription abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. For the last thirty years, doctors have been prescribing significantly more painkillers than ever before. These include codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and more. While more people are turning to “holistic” pain management methods, the rising age of the United States population and the ease of acquiring these pain meds present a serious problem.
While each of the medications mentioned can provide necessary pain management and increase the quality of life, they do pose significant dangers. Many opioid addicts never used other drugs recreationally before becoming addicted to pain meds. Addiction can also occur in a short time and with limited use. Depending on the level of pain experienced, people may abuse a medication to avoid said pain without being under the influence of the drug’s addictive tendencies.
Opioid overdose can be common with misuse and can be fatal or have long-lasting consequences. Use of opioids along with other substances (alcohol, antidepressants, barbiturates) can be particularly dangerous.
Opioid use causes mild euphoria and is often effective at managing chronic pain. Many addicts use opioids in ways not intended, such as snorting or injecting, to reach the euphoric feeling faster. Injecting any drug also increases the chances of getting needle-born illnesses such as HIV or hepatitis C.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
Benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Xanax, are used by millions of Americans to treat sleep (insomnia) and anxiety disorders. These CNS depressants affect the brain by aiding in the production of a chemical known as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that slows brain activity thus making you tired or more subdued.
Other commonly abused drugs in this category include barbiturates such as Amytal, Nembutal, Luminal, and Seconal. These drugs are also CNS depressants and are often prescribed to treat seizure disorders.
There are perfectly valid medical reasons for taking a CNS depressant. They can aid in helping achieve necessary sleep or relief from crippling anxiety. However, taking them for more than a few weeks can lead to tolerance, or the need to increase the dosage to achieve the same result. Using a CNS depressant with other substances, especially alcohol, can lead to dangerous complications or even death. Withdrawal from CNS depressants can be dangerous as well and has been known to produce seizures.
Stimulants increase energy, awareness, and attention. They are prescribed for various disorders such as ADHD, depression, asthma, or even obesity. Some examples of commonly abused stimulants include dextroamphetamine, Vyvanse, methylphenidate, and Adderall. These drugs work by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose. They can also narrow your blood vessels and open up your lungs.
Stimulant abuse is common among college students and other professionals who commonly have deadlines or need to work late into the night. Because the medications do not seem to have many immediate negative side effects, a physical dependence can occur very easily. Stimulant abuse occurs when drugs are used in dangerously high amounts or when they are snorted or injected. Side effects can include a dangerous heartbeat level, rising body temperature, or, in rare cases, heart attack or seizure.
Prescription Drug Abuse Symptoms
Signs of prescription pill addiction can vary greatly from person to person and can be extremely different depending on the drug being abused.
Some of the most common symptoms of stimulant abuse are:
- Weight loss
- Dizziness or loss of motor control
- Paranoia or nervousness
- Changes in heart rate or blood pressure
Some common symptoms of opioid abuse are:
- Changes in breathing rate
- Slurred speech or blurred vision
- Dizziness or “head-spinning”
- Vomiting or constipation
Some common symptoms of CNS depressant abuse are:
- Mood changes
- Slowed reflexes and reaction time
- Memory loss
- Loss of motor function or coordination
Detox from Prescription Drugs
Prescription pill addiction can be extremely difficult to break, especially without professional help. The first step in most recovery plans is usually detoxification. This refers to the process by which the harmful residual toxins associated with drug abuse are purged from the body. The detox process can vary greatly depending on the substance and the amount of the drug taken. The detox phase of treatment can last anywhere from a few days to a month or more.
Withdrawal symptoms will also vary greatly by substance, but there is often a serious physical toll that includes uncontrollable sweating, headaches, body aches, and chills. There is also the mental toll and the cravings associated with giving up an addictive substance. Occasionally, other medications, such as methadone, can be prescribed to help deal with the painful effects of withdrawal. However, because these substances are often addictive themselves, it is important to consult with a physician during the detox process.
The odds of overcoming addiction and making it through the detoxification stage alone are daunting. However, the professional staff at Intrepid is here to walk you through the process from start to finish.
Treatment Options for Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription pill addiction looks different for everyone. Detox and treatment are not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Different people require different approaches. While no two recovery journeys are alike, professionally supervised detox is an essential step in almost every instance-and Intrepid Recovery is a leader in this space in the South Florida Community
One of the most important aspects of any medical detox from prescription drugs is simply the presence of a safe and drug-free environment. The safest way to achieve this is by researching the reputation and results of local treatment options. In-patient (residential) treatment offers a drug-free environment for as long as it is medically necessary to complete detox.
Most patients who choose this option are in treatment anywhere from a week to several months, depending on the level of treatment needed. For those with a supportive family environment and the desire to come and go, outpatient therapy can be productive as well.
At Intrepid Recovery, we combine professional experience with a great reputation in the community and the knowledge to help you overcome addiction.
Begin Your Recovery Journey with Intrepid Today!
While there may be many options for your recovery, we are confident that Intrepid can provide you the tools needed to make long-term changes. Our professional, knowledgeable and courteous staff, combined with our facilities and technical knowledge equal a recovery experience that is unparalleled in the South Florida community. Intrepid’s fully accredited facilities have produced hundreds of success stories for men and women both young and old. Our evidence-based approach to comprehensive clinical care utilizes the most effective treatment modalities and seeks to stay current on innovative therapeutic methods. Many of our staff members are also graduates of our programs and thus can attest to our professionalism and effectiveness. Contact us today to begin your journey today with Intrepid Recovery!