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PRESCRIPTION DRUG FAQS

What are the effects of prescription drug abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is the use of prescription drugs in a way that they were not intended for by the prescribing doctor.  Millions of Americans are addicted to prescription drugs and anti-anxiety drugs, sedatives, opioids, and stimulants are misused throughout the nation.  Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem within the country, and the effects of prescription drugs are dangerous and result in thousands of overdose deaths every year.  Most prescription drug overdose deaths are unintentional and involve the combination of more than one drug. There are many reasons why someone becomes addicted to prescription drugs, and the most common is misuse.  The misuse of prescription drugs leads to tolerance for the effects of drugs, causing dependency, which leads to developing drug-seeking behavior or addiction. There are numerous effects of prescription drug abuse, and these are both long-term, and short-term effects.

Most prescription drug users will develop social isolation, and when they become addicted to the drugs they are using, they will often use these drugs alone.  Drugs consume the user physically and emotionally, and you become completely involved in the pursuit of achieving the next great high from prescription drugs. The people around them notice prescription drug users withdrawal from previously enjoyable activities.  There are always rapid mood swings because of how prescription drugs affect brain chemistry replacing naturally occurring hormones with foreign chemicals. Loved ones will start to notice worsening well-being physically and mentally, and this can result in self-harm or harm to other people.  Addiction is the clear effect caused by prescription drug use, and addiction is both physical and psychological. Drug addiction results in crumbling interpersonal relationships and an inability to fulfill responsibilities at work or at home.  

The long-term use of prescription drugs has the potential to result in job loss or even lead to homelessness.  Prescription drug users will have increasing financial troubles, legal problems, and struggle with the consequences of risk-taking behavior.  Each classification of prescription narcotics creates unique effects. For example, the abuse of CNS depressants leads to addiction, respiratory depression, withdrawal symptoms, overdose, seizures, and death.  Prescription opioid abuse causes respiratory depression, hypotension, coma, addiction, overdose, increased risk of contracting diseases through dirty needles, and death. The abuse of CNS stimulants causes addiction, hypertension, cardiovascular complications, heart attack, strokes, seizures, tremors, hallucinations, paranoia, aggression, violence, overdose, and death.  If you are taking prescription drugs for some specific medical reasons, it is essential to follow the exact directions of the prescribing doctor.

Prescription drugs cause a variety of effects that require proper detox and withdrawal management when usage is stopped. Someone who is dependent on prescription drugs and not addicted to them requires a medically supervised detox. Long-term use of prescription drugs causes increased tolerance and dependence. Unfortunately, there are millions of Americans dependent on these drugs struggling to get off them. Physical and psychological dependency on prescription drugs has the potential to lead to addiction. The long-term use, combined with the withdrawal symptoms, forces a person to remain on these drugs longer than needed. Additionally, prescription drugs are misused for the intoxicating effects, which causes addiction.

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 3.5% or 9.7 million Americans aged 12 or older misused prescription pain medication in the last year. Pain medication addiction is an ongoing problem across the United States, and most addicts begin with a prescription. The long-term use of pain medication leads to physical dependence and increased tolerance. Any addiction involving pain medication, stimulants, or sedatives creates tolerance and dependence, leading to dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The best approach to manage dependence and tolerance is a medically supervised detox. Medical detox programs benefit someone physically dependent on these drugs but not addicted, or someone addicted to prescription drugs.

A medically supervised detox involves withdrawal management, which is a process of controlling withdrawal symptoms with the use of medication. The ideal scene is to become entirely drug-free and not have to rely on other drugs to manage an addiction. Medical detox programs stabilize a patient before they enter short-term or long-term drug rehab. Following detox are counseling, therapy, relapse prevention, and some behavioral therapies. Long-term rehabilitation is the best option because all the services are offered onsite to help the addict and their family. Short-term drug rehab centers usually last three to six weeks, whereas long-term programs provide services for three to six months or longer.

Typically, an addiction assessment would determine what length of rehabilitation is needed and would help a patient develop the treatment plan they need. Overall, rehabilitation should be well rounded and provide all the services needed. The treatment process is different for each person, and no one form of rehabilitation works for every addict. However, when searching for rehabilitation, but when the addict is unwilling, family intervention is a successful approach to take. Family intervention helps the addict see how their addiction is affecting them and the lives of their loved ones. A certified interventionist is qualified to counsel a family and perform the intervention with the family to save the life of the addict.

Sources-
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR1PDFW090120.pdf

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