What is Prescription Pill Abuse?
Some of the most commonly abused drugs are the prescription pills we find in our own medicine cabinets. When it comes to painkillers or opiates, individuals as young as 12 years old, say that they started their addiction in their own home by abusing the prescriptions that their doctor’s wrote for them. Many prescription medications are very addictive, and even if they do not appear to be causing addiction or drug abuse, they can lead to painful withdrawal when discontinued. In fact, most people do not even realize that dependence is forming.
Misuse of prescription pills is as common, if not more so, than abusing illicit substances.. As with illegal substance treatment, oftentimes medical detox is required to safely end physical and mental dependence to narcotic substances prescribed by the doctor. What follows is intensive therapy to help resume life the way it once was before medications changed everything. Though it may seem strange to need medical detox or drug abuse rehabilitation for something prescribed by a doctor, it is important to remember that some medications, like morphine, are extremely similar to street drugs such as heroin. The closet alternative to Adderall for example, is meth.
Types of Prescription Pills
While there are thousands of different prescription substances, the most common classifications that we see abused fall into the following categories:
Opioids are typically intense or potent painkillers, such as morphine or fentanyl. Substances such as morphine, heroin or opium are considered to be ‘natural’ opiates, whereas methadone, percocet and vicodin are considered synthetic opioids. Opioids are highly addictive and cause severe withdrawal. Currently, most drug overdose and death in America contains some type of opiate drug.
Signs of Abuse Include:
- Shallow Breathing
- Increased Sensitivity to Pain
- Poor Coordination
- Memory Problems
Typically used to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin or Adderall, stimulants or uppers increase activity in the body. They speed up the mental process, which has become popular especially amongst college students who abuse them to crunch their work. Chemically, meth is the closest street drug to Adderall. Many who struggle with Adderall addiction may transition to meth.
Signs of Abuse Includes:
- Agitation or Paranoia
- Reduced Appetite
- Increased Heart rate
- Skin problems
Barbiturates are typically sedative drugs that treat things such as seizures. The body develops a tolerance to these drugs quickly, and withdrawal effects are felt as quickly as 8 hours after the last dose. Mixing barbiturates with other substances, such as alcohol or opiates greatly increases the chance of overdose.
Typical signs of abuse includes:
- Decreased Consciousness
- Muscle Weakness
- Slurring Speech
Benzodiazepines, or benzos are typically used for anxiety disorders or depression. They include medications such as Valium and Xanax. Discontinuing them is especially dangerous because they can cause permanent chemical changes to the brain. Valium withdrawal is one of the most dangerous – as lethal as alcohol as it can cause grand mal seizures.
Signs of Abuse Include:
- Feeling Unsteady
- Memory Issues
- Poor Concentration
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or others, you may have a problem abusing prescription medications and require medical help to safely detox. Because of the high risks of lethal withdrawal symptoms or seizures, it is very imperative to detox with the assistance of trained medical staff such as the men and women at Royal Life Detox.
How Addiction Develops
With most ongoing use of mnedication, individuals will develop a tolerance over time, which turns into a need for more and that propels them into dependence. Once dependence has started,the pain of withdrawal, or the inability to cope without the substance takes on a full blown addiction. Most people do not even realize that they are developing the tolerance that sets the whole chain reaction into motion.
A lot of times, the fault lies in the general doctor or healthcare provider – not that their intent is to cause harm, but that they are ill equipped to deal with addiction. Commonly, patients will run into the following problems or experience with their MD:
- Many doctors don’t have experience recognizing the signs of dependence
- They don’t realize that their patients are developing tolerance
- They are over prescribing or giving longer prescriptions than they should
- Most doctors have not worked in a residential or intensive outpatient (IOP) substance abuse detoxification and rehabilitation treatment center for at least 1 year
- Panic Attacks
- Intense dreams
The last note is a best case scenario – but it is very helpful for medical professionals to understand exactly what the drugs they are prescribing do and how to help them!
Side Effects of Regular Use
Detoxing from Prescription Pills
Every drug has its own effect on the body, and every person will experience something different. Depending on your age, what you have taken, your overall health and how much you have abused, ending addiction to prescription pills can be dangerous or even lethal. Withdrawal is painful, and difficult and without the assistance of professional medical staff, many individuals will relapse to end the terrible effects.
Medical detox from prescription pills will typically alleviate most withdrawal symptoms within 5-10 days, safely. In the case of Valium or other deadly benzos, you protect yourself from lethal seizures by being monitored by a medical professional 24/7.
Withdrawal from Prescription Pills
Various categories of medications have different withdrawal symptoms to deal with. Here is just a brief overview of what to expect:
With the safe and professional aid of a medical detox team, like the ones at Royal Life Detox, you can get through prescription pill withdrawal and back to a life of happiness, free of addiction. Addiction treatment does not end with medical detox. In fact, that is just the first step. Ongoing therapy, group support and counseling is critical in ensuring that relapse does not occur. Once you have completed medical detox, we recommend a moving on to residential inpatient and completing a full continuum of care. This ensure that you will be armed with the coping mechanisms necessary to enjoy clean and sober living.
If you or a loved one has a dependency or addiction to medications, or any substance use disorder, please reach out to us about your detox and treatment options. Royal Life Detox admissions staff is available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns. We can be reached at (877)-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837. Because We Care.