Prescription Drug Abuse

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Prescription drug abuse has been a widespread problem for decades. In separate 2019 studies it was found that 20% of Americans & 1 in 4 Brits are addicted to prescription drugs. This problem is increasingly prevalent in young adults and teenagers.

Prescription drug abuse is defined as the use of a controlled substance for reasons other than that for which it was prescribed. This could mean using more than initially prescribed, using someone else’s prescription, using illegally or illicitly obtained medication or using medication to obtain feelings of euphoria or exhilaration a “high”, rather than for their intended purpose.
Most individuals who go on to abuse prescription drugs initially have them prescribed them for a legitimate medical reason. Unfortunately, the highly addictive nature of these drugs makes them hard to kick once a habit has formed.

The long-term use of prescription medication can change the way the brain works. The use of drugs releases dopamine into the brain and over time the body builds up a tolerance so individuals require higher doses to achieve the same “high”, and doing normal things previously enjoyed, like eating food, hanging out with family and socialising, gives less pleasure. Prescription medication is often physically, as well as psychologically, addictive. This means the body craves the drug and resisting can cause some nasty symptoms. It is important to seek professional advice before trying to stop any medication and often an experienced physical detox is required to reduce disagreeable side effects and the harsher withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the most abused prescription drugs

Painkillers – these usually come in the form of an opioid such as Codeine, Morphine, Tramadol, Fentanyl or Oxycodone (to name a few). They work by supressing the bodies reaction to pain and can give feelings of euphoria. Abuse of painkillers can cause confusion and depression, impaired co-ordination and judgement, slowed breathing and low blood pressure, also excessive sweating and constipation.

Sedatives – (also known as depressants) benzodiazepines such as Valium or Xanax, non-benzodiazepine sleeping pills like Ambien or barbiturates such as Luminal & Nembutal. Sedatives are often used to treat sleep disorders and anxiety. However, abuse can cause drowsiness and over sleepiness, unsteadiness and dizziness, appearing drunk or intoxicated, confusion about simple things such as dates, times and places, loss of memory and involuntary eye and/or body movements and tics.

Stimulants – such as Dexedrine, Adderall or Ritalin, normally used to treat disorders such as ADHD. These drugs can give a feeling of exhilaration, increased energy levels and mental alertness. Signs of abuse include decrease in appetite and weight loss, restlessness and reduced sleep, irregular heartbeat and palpitations.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse - Prescription Drug Abuse Problems, Rehab & Addiction Treatment Centre in Spain
Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

  • Shifts in sleeping and eating patterns, Seeming to be intoxicated, overly energetic, or lethargic
  • Being secretive or evasive, Paranoia, Hostility, mood swings and irritability, particularly in relation to availability of medications
  • Withdrawal symptoms when prescription drug is not available
  • An increase in the use of alcohol, Taking higher doses than prescribed or taking other people’s medications
  • Drug-seeking behaviours, Lying about amount of medication used
  • Visiting multiple doctors to obtain more prescriptions and/or ordering prescriptions from internet pharmacies
  • “Losing” multiple prescriptions for prescription medications, Stashing medication in multiple pla

Treatment for a Prescription Drug Abuse
At Phoenix Programmes we understand that every client is different, and their illness needs individualised treatment and care. Prescription drug users are often physically as well as mentally addicted and it is important to get the correct medical detox, along with the support for the underlying emotional problems. Following a detailed consultation with our specialist’s our clients will be given a complete plan of our recommended course of treatment.

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