Prescription drug addiction is becoming a global problem. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that around 48 million individuals have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and OxyContin are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs around the world, and come with damaging side effects, along with stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall. The increase of prescription drug abuse has increased the amount of ER visits due to accidental overdoses, along with admissions to prescription drug addiction treatment programmes.
Prescription drug dependence often starts when a physician prescribes drugs to a person. Vicodin and OxyContin are opiates that are frequently used to manage or treat pain, while Xanax and Valium are popular forms of benzodiazepines that are often prescribed for anxiety or stress disorders. Both opiates and benzodiazepines may be abused due to the effects that they have on the user, such as making them feel relaxed and calm. Frequent use of these drugs can change the reward system in the brain by releasing excess dopamine, which eventually causes an addiction.
Many people make the conscious decision to start taking prescription drugs. However, as time goes on, the alterations in the addicted brain due to continued drug abuse change the way their decision-making ability and level of self-control. When this happens they start to crave the drug and need to take more to mimic its previous effects.
There are three main types of prescription drugs that are abused:
Opioids are often used to treat pain, and include medications such as morphine and codeine. The increase of opioid abuse can be linked to an increase in chronic pain and the aging population. Other forms of opioids include Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone and Meperidine. These drugs can become life threatening if an overdose occurs.
CNS depressants, such as benzodiazepines, weaken the central nervous system. They are often used to treat sleep disorders and anxiety, and work by affecting Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the brain’s neurotransmitter, which decreases brain activity and causes a calming or drowsy effect. Using CNS depressants for up to a few weeks can help induce feelings of sleepiness and calmness, but the dosage will eventually have to increase.
Stimulants are often prescribed for ADD, ADHD, narcolepsy and major depression. They cause an increase in attention, awareness and energy by increasing blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate, while constricting blood vessels and opening the respiratory system’s pathways. Stimulants can become addictive when they are taken in higher doses or snorted to get high. Taking stimulants in high doses can lead to high body temperatures, and mixing stimulants with decongestants can cause irregular heart rhythms.
The signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse largely depend on the person’s drug of choice. A person who abuses prescription opiates may have constricted pupils, be confused and drowsy, and not feel pain at standard levels. They may feel nauseas and need medication for constipation. Their breathing may be abnormally slow when they are asleep. If they attempt to stop using opiates, then they may experience several days of bone and muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia and chills.
Benzodiazepine users abuse drugs that are meant to treat sleeplessness and anxiety, which is why they act drowsy and relaxed. They may also have dilated pupils, poor memory, slurred speech and impaired coordination, and act tired, anxious, agitated, aggressive, paranoid, depressed or suicidal. They usually have irregular sleep patterns and spend many hours awake before they can eventually sleep for a long period of time.
Even though there are different types of prescription drugs, the treatment methods for addiction will have the same basic components, such as detoxification, counselling and behavioural therapies. The NIDA states that treatment programmes should be flexible and individualised. Another common component may include an assessment to find out if the addiction is linked with dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorder, which has been disguised by prescription drug abuse. For example, Xanax is a commonly abused drug that is used to treat stress and anxiety. If a person who abuses Xanax is battling an anxiety disorder, then this information is vital in order to treat the condition and prevent relapses.
The Dawn’s private accommodation in tropical resort-style facilities offers a relaxing and calming environment for our clients to focus on their addiction treatment. Our licensed team of professionals have extensive experience in treating various types of drug addictions, and an onsite detoxification centre and a team of detox specialists are also available 24/7. Our prices are only a quarter of the cost in comparison to a Western centre, and we offer online aftercare support at no additional cost.
The Dawn’s prescription drug addiction treatment programme includes:
The earlier that a person seeks help, the better. If you or someone you love is seeking prescription drug addiction treatment, contact us today to receive a no obligation assessment to find out how we can help.