Like with all addictions, no specific factor causes prescription drug abuse. There are multiple paths to prescription drug abuse that all begin with misuse of a drug that is meant to help. If you are wondering how does prescription drug abuse start then you will find this article helpful.
At the Robert Alexander Center, we work with our clients to determine the root cause of their addiction and help them learn to manage the symptoms and side effects of addiction while living a sober lifestyle. Each individual works through a personalized program that is designed around their specific addiction needs.
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How Does Prescription Drug Abuse Start?
Prescription drug abuse can begin in a number of ways, always with misuse or lengthy use of a medication that is meant to help. Prescription drug misuse can happen when an individual takes too much of their prescription, takes it in an unsafe way, or when someone takes drugs they are not prescribed.
When an individual takes too much of a prescription, this dangerous form of misuse can lead to addiction. The body gets too much of the drug, and the impact is that it begins to crave this high dosage. Too much or taken too frequently can lead to harmful side effects that may not ever occur with standardized or as prescribed use.
Prescription drug use can also become problematic and abusive when an individual takes their medication in an unsafe way. Most commonly, a prescription is used unsafely when taken with other substances like alcohol or another drug. This can cause devastating, even deadly effects. Another way that prescriptions can be taken unsafely is if they are altered to change how they enter the body. For example, if a pill is crushed to snort or be dissolved in liquid, this can make the drug more effective and dangerous.
Finally, individuals who take prescription drugs that are not prescribed to them are misusing prescriptions. Each prescription is based on the specific patient’s needs, sometimes their weight, and even their other prescription use. When a person who is not the recipient takes the medication, it can be deadly.
Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse
Individuals who become addicted to prescription drugs may face a number of symptoms that are directly related to the medication itself. However, they may also experience universal symptoms of drug abuse.
- Urges to use a drug more often
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Aches and pains
- Changes in appetites
When an individual experiences an addiction to a prescription medication, they may also forge prescriptions, doctor shop, and look for illegal alternatives if their supply is compromised.
What Prescription Drugs are Commonly Abused?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most commonly abused prescription medications are:
- Opioids are usually prescribed to treat pain.
- Central nervous system, or CNS, depressants (this category includes tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics) are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
- Stimulants are most often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Studies show that approximately 16.1 million people abuse prescription drugs in the United States and that these prescription medications account for over 16,000 deaths between 2019 and 2020.
How to Find Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment
If you are worried that your or your loved one’s prescription drug use is problematic or abusive, it is important to find drug abuse treatment that is designed to support your individual needs. For individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs, it is important to consider several factors when looking into a rehabilitation facility. If you take medication to prevent symptoms or provide relief, your rehabilitation options will be different from someone taking the prescription to get high.
If you are taking a prescription medication prescribed to you by a doctor, you should consider inpatient or intensive outpatient programming. These types of programs will provide the structure you need to treat your drug abuse and help you manage the symptoms the medication was initially prescribed for.
If you are taking a prescription drug to get high, you may require inpatient, intensive outpatient, or outpatient treatment based on the severity of your addiction.
At the Robert Alexander Center, our expert staff can help you determine which treatment program best meets your specialized needs. We offer multiple treatment programs that our clients can transition through based on their individual needs.
Contact an admissions counselor today to see how we can support you on your way to lasting recovery.