Prescription Drug Addiction

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Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

Into Action Recovery Centers offers high-quality customized prescription drug addiction treatment programs. Our staff is experienced in working with patients who are addicted to one or more prescription drugs to overcome the addiction and to identify alternative solutions to treat the underlying medical condition that may have required the use of the prescription drug initially. If your addiction is the result of using prescription drugs without an underlying medical cause, we will provide you with the tools to successfully overcome your addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

The primary purpose of prescription medications is to treat disease and ease pain. Unfortunately, abuse of prescription drugs continues to rise. Teenagers and young adults are using the drugs for the stimulant, euphoric or sedative effects. They often find the drugs at home or find them readily available from peers or doctors willing to prescribe unnecessary medications. In fact, the National Institue on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that approximately 52 million Americans aged 12 and older have used prescription drugs for recreational use at some point in their lives.

Some of the most commonly misused prescription drugs include:

  • Opioids like Vicodin, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, and Dolophine
  • Stimulants like Adderall, Dexedrine, and Ritalin
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants like Valium, Xanax, Ambien, Luminal, benzodiazepines, and Nembutal

Generally, the signs and symptoms associated with prescription drug addiction depend on the type of drug abused. However, there are some common indications of prescription drug abuse that are relevant to all types of prescription drugs.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Unusually energetic or overly fatigued
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Taking drugs to prevent withdrawal symptoms
  • High tolerance for the prescription drug(s)

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Stealing prescriptions from friends and family
  • Repeatedly saying prescriptions were lost or stolen in order to acquire more
  • Obtaining prescriptions from different doctors
  • Crushing pills and snorting or mixing drugs with water to inject
  • Borrowing prescriptions from others
  • Taking the prescribed drugs more often than recommended
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Constantly shopping for new doctors

Psychological behavioral symptoms include:

  • Noticeable changes in mood
  • Poor judgment and decision making
  • Appearing high and disoriented
  • Confused about people, places, and time
  • Obsession over obtaining and taking prescribed drugs
Effects of Prescription Drugs On the Body & Brain

Different classes of prescription drugs affect the body and brain in different ways.

Opioids: Prescribed to ease relieve pain, opioids affect the brain and body by binding to opioid receptors located in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. When the drugs attach to the receptors, they reduce the perception of pain. Additionally, the brain’s reward system floods with dopamine, evoking a sense of euphoria. Physically, opioids tend to cause drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and respiratory depression.

The short-term effects of opioids include:

  • Euphoric feelings
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Mental fog
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness
  • Respiratory depression

The long-term effect of opioids can include:

  • Weak bones and arthritis
  • Hypoxia, or the absence of oxygen in the body’s tissues
  • Increased risk of heart attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression

CNS Depressants: Often used as sedatives, tranquilizers and to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, CNS depressants increase the brain’s neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. GABA reduces the activity of the brain’s neurons and nerve cells. By increasing GABA, CNS depressants slow the brain’s activity. Physically, depressants calm the body and produce a drowsy but relaxed feeling.

The short-term effects of depressants include:

  • Falling asleep at school or work
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech and blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory loss
  • Blacking out
  • Impaired judgment and mental functioning

Long-term effects of depressants can include:

  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Convulsions which resemble seizures
  • Depression and other mental health issues
  • Suicidal thoughts

Stimulants: Mostly prescribed by doctors to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stimulants enhance the effects of norepinephrine and dopamine. This increase invigorates the body. When used recreationally, stimulants can cause increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, constricted blood vessels and increased blood glucose levels.

The short-term effects of stimulants include:

  • Sleeplessness, or disturbed sleep patterns
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations and mild psychotic behavior
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature

The long-term effects of stimulants include:

  • Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain
  • Heart attacks
  • Seizures and stroke
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Cerebral hemorrhage and brain damage
  • Epilepsy
The Dangers of Using Prescription Drugs

When prescribed by doctors for legitimate reasons, prescription drugs can help provide relief from disease, disorders, and pain. When they’re misused or abused, they become incredibly dangerous. This is evident by the warning and instruction labels found on prescription drugs. Although it can be easy to overlook, prescription labels provide critical information about the medication, including:

  • How and when to take the medicine
  • Quantity of pills included in the prescription
  • The number of refills allowed
  • Warnings about what to avoid while taking the medication
  • The expiration date
  • The prescribed dosage

Additionally, warning labels often associated with prescription drugs hint at their addictive properties and short-term and long-term effects. Do not take these warnings lightly.

Always consult a medical professional if you have any questions about your prescription medication.

Prescription Drug Withdrawal: Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of withdrawal vary widely depending upon the type of prescription drug that was abused.

Withdrawal symptoms for opioids can include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Hypertension
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid, racing heartbeat
  • Agitation and irritability

Withdrawal symptoms for depressants can include:

  • Insomnia and restlessness
  • Shaking and weakness
  • Hallucinations and panic attacks
  • Body tremors
  • Seizures
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Withdrawal symptoms for stimulants can include:

  • Jitters
  • Chills
  • Dehydration
  • Dulled senses
  • Slow heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Unpleasant dreams
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Withdrawal from prescription drugs can have life-threatening complications. Always seek help from a medical or addiction recovery professional before undergoing withdrawal.

Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment & Rehab

The first step in treating an addiction to prescription drugs is detoxification. Here at Into Action Recovery Centers, we provide on-site medical detox. Never attempt detoxification without proper medical supervision.

Once you have removed prescription drugs from your body, you can begin rehabilitation. Most addiction treatment programs include behavioral support with, in some cases, pharmacological assistance as needed.

Behavioral treatment uses individual, group, and family counseling sessions, contingency management, and cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to teach clients how to function without prescription drugs. We offer this treatment through inpatient and outpatient programs.

Our inpatient clients are invited to stay onsite at our facility while they receive behavioral treatment. Our outpatient clients remain living at home while they receive treatment.

When delivered effectively, behavioral treatment yields several benefits, including:

  • Knowing how to deal with cravings
  • Reduced risk for relapse
  • Knowing how to avoid drugs and situations that lead to drug use
  • Mending personal relationships
  • Increasing confidence
  • Improved overall wellbeing
When Dual Diagnosis Treatment is Needed

Sometimes, a client’s addiction to prescription drugs worsens or provokes mental health or other co-occurring disorders. For example, CNS depressants and stimulants are known to worsen depression, anxiety, and, in some cases, psychosis. When this happens, both the substance abuse disorder and the mental health condition need to be treated simultaneously.

Choosing Into Action For Your Recovery

Into Action Recovery Centers recognizes the seriousness of the prescription drug crisis. The perception that these substances are more legitimate and therefore safer is deceptive, as their abuse can have deadly consequences. We work with each patient to develop an individual prescription drug abuse treatment program designed to address the specific causes of the addiction as well as treating the underlying drug dependency.

Recovering from prescription drug addiction takes determination, time and commitment. But our expert team is dedicated to seeing you or your loved ones succeed. So don’t suffer in silence trying to recover from addiction on your own.

Let our devoted team help you reclaim your life and reach long-term recovery success. Call us today at 844-303-3969.

Why IARC?

Clients benefit from our proactive, people-first approach that ensures they experience personalized, attentive therapy and treatment throughout their recovery journey. We stand by our clients even after they graduate with ongoing alumni events and support.

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We are in-network with most insurance companies.

Please call us to see if your HMO, PPO, or EPO insurance plan will cover your treatment. Or ask us about our affordable self-pay plans.

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