Medications can be lifesavers when they are used properly. However, some can be addictive and dangerous when abused. More than 10 million Americans of all backgrounds and ages report using prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons each year. More than 50 million Americans have taken prescription drugs for a nonmedical reason at least once in their lives.
Anyone can develop a pill addiction, but it’s more common among young people. Older people who take multiple maintenance medications can also struggle with prescription drug addiction. Many people taking prescription medications don’t do so with the intent to become addicted, but when they do take them for medical reasons, a dependence on the substance occurs. In fact, prescription drug abuse and pill addiction is the U.S.’s fastest-growing drug problem.
Regardless of how a person becomes addicted to medication, seeking prescription drug addiction recovery and treatment is the best way to overcome this disorder. Midwest Detox Center in Ohio offers pill addiction help through comprehensive treatment programs for people struggling with prescription drug abuse. Contact us online or call 833.647.0392 to learn more about our treatment center.
3 Commonly Abused Prescription Medications
Did you know that after marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs in the U.S. are the most commonly abused drugs? Taking medications without a prescription and taking more than the dosage are both forms of abuse.
1. Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
CNS depressants include sedatives, sedative-hypnotics, or tranquilizers. They’re often prescribed for anxiety or sleep problems and are one of these two types of drugs:
- Barbiturates: Barbiturates are prescribed for anxiety and sleep problems, although the potential risks of overdose and dependency associated with these drugs have stopped many medical professionals from prescribing barbiturates for these conditions. Common barbiturates include mephobarbital (Mebaral) and pentobarbital (Nembutal).
- Benzodiazepines: This type of medication is used to treat anxiety and sleep problems as well as seizures. Taking benzodiazepines with other drugs that can cause sleepiness, like alcohol, prescription painkillers, or over-the-counter allergy and cold medications can slow the heart and respiration, which can be fatal. Common benzodiazepines include clonazepam (Klonipin), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax).
CNS depressants work by slowing down the body’s central nervous system and causing you to feel relaxed. These drugs can quickly become addictive. Taking barbiturates and benzodiazepines for an extended period increases the risk of dependence and addiction.
If a person has a pill addiction and is abusing CNS depressants, they may experience the following: high blood pressure, insomnia, irritability, irregular heartbeat, restlessness, and weight loss. They may be a risk for memory loss, and an overdose could result in a coma or death.
In the U.S., opioids are some of the most abused prescription drugs. If taken exactly as prescribed, opioids can be effective for managing pain in patients with injuries, those who are recovering from surgery, or people with mild to severe chronic pain.
Many medical professionals that prescribe opioids are quick to instruct their patients to only take these medications for a short period, as they’re aware that taking them can lead to dependence and addiction. People who become dependent on opioids could also eventually transition to using heroin.
Common prescription opioids include codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. Some opioid pills contain other substances. For example, Vicodin has both hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Most opioids are usually taken by mouth, in pill form. Many opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin, are time-release medications. But crushing the pills results in a powder that can be snorted or injected, causing a rapid release of the drug and a subsequent high.
If a person has a pill addiction and is abusing opioids, they might experience the following:
- Lower blood pressure
- Poor coordination
- Slowed breathing
A person with opioid addiction is at risk for choking, dangerously low breathing rate and blood pressure, and could even fall into a coma. Opioid abuse is very dangerous. It can lead to overdose or death.
Stimulants can increase alertness and attention. They’re usually used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and may also be used as a weight-loss agent. Stimulants provide a euphoric and intense high that leaves people feeling more energetic and focused.
In the past, medical professionals prescribed stimulants to treat a greater variety of medical conditions – but when the potential for abuse and addiction became better known, this stopped.
Some individuals will dissolve the pills in water and attempt to inject the mixture – potentially causing vascular problems. People addicted to stimulants may also swallow the pills or crush them up and snort them. Some of them may eventually transition to using illicit stimulants like cocaine.
Common prescription stimulants include amphetamine (Adderall), dextroamphetamine, and methylphenidate (Ritalin).
If a person is has a pill addiction and is abusing stimulants, they may experience the following: dizziness, drowsiness, lack of balance, poor judgment, and rapid eye movement. An individual who is struggling with stimulant addiction is also at risk for seizures, paranoia, hallucinations, and cardiovascular problems — like a rapid or irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart damage or failure.
Learn More About Midwest Detox’s Treatment Programs
If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs, you are not alone, and there is help available. Midwest Detox Center in Ohio offers prescription drug addiction recovery programs and drug detox programs. We also offer residential addiction treatment and an alumni program to keep our clients in recovery and prevent possible relapses. To learn more about these options, contact Midwest Detox Center at 833.647.0392 or connect with us online.