Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs are often described as America’s secret addiction because prescription drugs are often abused by individuals who take them for non-medical purposes. Prescription drugs posed a tremendous risk for addiction because they are powerful, can be easy to obtain and are legal. Many people take prescription drugs as they are prescribed and this site does not stand in judgment of the medical community and its practices. At the same time, research shows that over 45% of doctors have a hard time talking to their patients about the dangers of prescription drugs and the potential for addiction. This fact allows many people to juggle multiple doctors for duplication of the same prescription that maintains dependency and furthers the disease of addiction to prescription drugs.
Just like any addiction to heroin or cocaine, abuse of prescription drugs can cause physical and mental problems that must be addressed or will continue to get worse. What may have started out as a legitimate prescription to treat a physical or mental ailment can become its own problem that can far outweigh the original. Over 9 million people abused prescription drugs in 1999 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, so do not feel like you are alone if you have a problem. Prescription drugs are as powerful and often more so than street drugs. Prescription drugs fall into the same categories as street drugs based on their effects on the mind and body.
Opioids are narcotics and prescribed under the names of codeine, morphine or hydrocodone which is used by many brand name prescriptions. Opioids, like the street drug heroin, block pain receptors and are often prescribed for pain. Many people get hooked on these drugs because they are very addicting and the body adapts quickly to the medication and requires more to get the same pain blocking effect. As more pain pills are taken, exceeding the recommended dosages sometimes many times over, more are needed and it is not unusual for individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs for pain to take dozens of pills a day to feel normal. This kind of dependency requires a lot of time and resources and usually illegal activities of faking prescriptions and/or symptoms to obtain the pills.
Central nervous system depressants are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Brand names such as Valium, Halcion, Librium, Xanax and ProSom have been widely distributed to slow down brain activity. Like other drugs however the brain adapts and when a person tries to get off of the drug, anxiety and sleeplessness can feel like it is worse than ever and this often reinforces dependence.
The consequences of stimulant abuse such as Ritalin or Dexedrine was accurately portrayed in the movie “Requiem for a Dream.” Much like their street counterparts cocaine and meth amphetamines, prescription stimulants can be very psychologically addicting and are also subject to dependence and loss of control.