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Data from 2018 provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that 128 people lose their lives each day to the effects of prescription drug abuse. In recent years, the overwhelming increase in prescription drug misuse and abuse has caused various government regulatory agencies (at the federal, state, and local levels) to declare these drug categories an epidemic problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the economic cost to society of prescription drug misuse in the United States to be almost $80 billion annually.

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Learning About Pill Abuse

Are Prescription Drugs Addictive?

When used correctly, prescription drugs can be highly effective and beneficial to the person using them. However, when misused, they can be dangerous and highly addictive. Many people believe because a medical provider prescribes a drug that it is “safe.” In many regards, this is true. However, when someone takes a prescription drug in a manner other than how it was prescribed – taking too much, dosing too often, or taking medications that are not prescribed to them- the risk for addiction and other serious physical health consequences increases dramatically. 

Drugs that are often misused or abused include opioid pain medications, stimulants (such as those used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and benzodiazepines, which are commonly used to treat sleep disorders. Because many people take these drugs for an extended duration to help alleviate the symptoms associated with a particular illness or condition, the chances for developing a tolerance increase dramatically. Once tolerance develops, increased or more frequent doses are required to obtain the same feeling or “high” once achieved at lower doses. When you develop a tolerance, you are at increased risk for addiction and potential overdose. 

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Signs & Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

The signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction will depend on the type of drug one is addicted to. Although the overall effect, for example, alterations in energy levels, will exist across various kinds of medications, how energy levels are affected will depend on the drug. If someone is addicted to benzodiazepines, they are likely to present with reduced energy levels and increased fatigue. In contrast, if someone struggles with an addiction to various stimulants, they are likely to be more “up” and have excess energy. Some of the most common physical and behavioral health changes seen when someone struggles with a prescription drug addiction often include:

  • Changes in mood or frequent mood swings
  • Changes in behavior such as increased isolation
  • New or worsening legal troubles and financial issues
  • New or worsening mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, psychosis, and stress
  • Physical symptoms including stomach issues, changes to breathing patterns, changes in heart rate, increased tolerance, speech changes, skin sores, and lesions

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Prescription Drug Withdrawal & The Need for Detox

Regular use of prescription drugs can cause your body to develop a tolerance to and craving for their effects. Tolerance commonly leads to physical and emotional dependence. When someone is dependent on a substance and chooses to reduce or stop using, painful and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can develop. With opioids, stimulants, and benzodiazepine drugs, withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be dangerous or fatal. 

Prescription drug withdrawal occurs when someone addicted to a particular substance tries to reduce or stop using. Depending on the substance, the level of use, and the duration of use, withdrawal six hours after your last dose and last for up to two weeks. Common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, agitation, body aches, difficulty sleeping, sweating, gastric disturbances, nausea, and vomiting. Other, more severe symptoms can include delirium tremens (DTs), irregular respirations, irregular heartbeat, and seizures.  

More severe symptoms such as cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, and coma that make detoxing in a safe environment essential. At a rehab that provides medically assisted detox, medical staff will be available 24/7 throughout the detox process. During detox, they will monitor your vital signs and intervene should an emergent medical situation arise. In some cases, depending on the unique needs of the individual, medical providers can administer medications to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, many who struggle with opioid addiction and choose to withdraw “cold turkey” often fail and relapse as withdrawal symptoms become too overwhelming to manage without additional support. 

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How to Find a Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Program Near You

In the United States today, there are approximately twenty thousand addiction treatment programs. While there are many to choose from, it is essential to remember that not all provide the same level of care or specialize in treatment options for all addiction treatment needs. To ensure the greatest opportunities for treatment success, it is essential to choose a program that offers treatment based on the unique needs of each patient who enters the program. It is also important to ensure your program of choice provides therapy options to address any co-occurring or pre-existing mental health conditions that may contribute to your addiction. If you are searching for a prescription drug addiction treatment program near you but are unsure where to start or which questions to ask, contact the team at My Recovery Source. 

We have researched addiction treatment programs across the nation and developed relationships with the United States’ best rehabs. The time we have invested into learning more about these programs helps our caring and compassionate team of consultants guide you on the path to finding the right rehab to meet your needs. The information and assistance we can provide by answering some of your tough questions can reduce the stress and anxiety you may feel when deciding to research the right rehab for you. Prescription drug addiction is challenging to overcome. To achieve sobriety and recovery is a journey best taken with the help and support of the staff at a comprehensive addiction treatment program. If you or a loved one are ready to seek treatment for a prescription drug addiction, don’t wait another day. Contact the team at My Recovery Source and let us guide you to a prescription drug addiction treatment program near you to start on your journey to sobriety. 

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