Every day people use prescriptions. According to the CDC, nearly half of Americans used prescriptions within the last month. As people get older, they are more likely to use prescription drugs and run the risk of overuse of prescription drugs. 85% of people over the age of 60 have a prescription.
So why is prescription drug abuse common? And if so, what are the commonly abused prescription drugs?
What are Prescription Drugs?
Prescription drugs are any medications used to help treat medical conditions or manage pain. People who take prescription medications can help alleviate mild to severe pain or manage symptoms that might otherwise interfere with daily life.
However, overuse of prescription drugs and prescription drug misuse can still happen even if that medication was given out for a legitimate reason by a doctor. Many people don’t think that using too many prescription drugs is dangerous, but in addition to the negative health consequences it can have, it can also lead to addiction.
So why are commonly abused prescription drugs still given out? Because they can, under proper medical supervision, be used for a wide array of things, including:
- Pain management after surgery
- Chronic pain disorders
- Treating and preventing medical issues
- Managing symptoms of illnesses
In general, without prescription medications, many people would be much sicker and likely die. Still, some prescription drug misuse is more common than others.
But if they are prescribed by a doctor, why is prescription drug abuse common?
Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Common?
Answering questions like “why is prescription drug abuse common” is complicated.
Some people are genetically predisposed to addiction, which can apply to anything they regularly take, including prescription drugs. Suppose you have a genetic predisposition to addiction, and you are given a prescription for an opioid to help you manage pain after surgery. In that case, you might find that you very quickly develop a tolerance to the drugs, and end up using much more than you are prescribed.
Medical Or Mental Health/History
Mental health, as well as Medical Health, can be a determining factor in prescription drug abuse. People who go undiagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety might find that the use of prescription drugs to target something like chronic pain actually changes the symptoms of their mental health problems. So, they use more and more prescription medications to achieve the same relief without actually getting medications to properly manage other conditions.
Previous Drug Use or Addiction
Previous drug addiction or drug abuse can change the chemical makeup of your brain. When this happens, you might be at a higher risk of developing an addiction to any substances, including prescription medications.
What Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?
Commonly abused prescription drugs include three categories:
Many people are given opioids like Percocet, morphine, codeine, or Oxycontin to help treat pain. But these medicines don’t actually fix your pain; they just trick your body into ignoring the pain so you don’t feel it and you can manage your daily life more effectively. By changing the chemicals in your brain, you get higher levels of things like dopamine which makes you feel good. Taking prescription opioids can cause you to have trouble achieving that same level of dopamine or good feeling under any other circumstances, leading you to abuse your prescription.
Common prescriptions: Vicodin, Oxycontin, Fentanyl, Codeine
Depressants are usually prescribed to treat panic disorders or anxiety disorders. These work by slowing down the chemicals in your brain and your body. They adjust levels of GABA, something that your brain naturally produces before you go to sleep. You might find that you are particularly relaxed after taking a prescription depressant but that your body is unable to relax the longer you use your prescription. In these situations, you can easily become addicted.
Common prescriptions: Diazepam, Clonazepam, Triazolam
Stimulants are typically used to manage Sleep Disorders, ADHD, panic disorders, and anxiety. They stimulate your brain and release extra dopamine to help you stay more attentive and focused.
Common prescriptions: Ritalin, Adderall
What are the Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?
Common signs of prescription drug abuse include using more than you are prescribed, caring about nothing but using more prescription drugs, finding yourself unable to stop using prescription drugs, having problems with your personal or professional life because of your prescription drug use.
How to Find Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment
At Dallas Detox see, we can help you cultivate a personalized prescription drug abuse treatment plan. For many people, prescription drug abuse might be coupled with something else like chronic pain, a mental health disorder, or drug and alcohol abuse. Creating a plan to help you detox and remove any remaining toxins from your body is the first step. After that, our facility can help you with a personalized long-term recovery plan that includes evidence-based practice and therapies as well as holistic modalities that can give you the highest chance of recovery and relapse prevention.
If you are ready to get help with prescription drug abuse, let Dallas Detox lend a hand.