There are many different types of substance addictions. One of the most misused substances is prescription drugs. This is partly due to doctors overprescribing pain medications. Individuals that engage in prescription drug abuse often do so because they take too much of their prescription medications to help them manage pain.
Many people also engage in prescription drug abuse because they take their prescription medications for a longer period of time than they’re supposed to, to help them manage continued pain. Other individuals may intentionally abuse prescription medications to get a euphoric high off of them.
Prescription drugs are medications that doctors prescribe to individuals. Most doctors prescribe patients prescription drugs to help them manage pain. This is because many prescription medications come in the form of opioid painkillers.
Due to the increasingly high levels of opioid prescription drug abuse, the U.S. is currently in an opioid epidemic. Other types of prescription drugs that people often misuse include those that treat everything from anxiety to sleep issues, to ADHD, and more.
There are a handful of major classes of prescription drugs. These major classes of prescription drugs include opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and stimulants.
Opiates are the prescription drugs that people most commonly use to treat pain. This is because opioids cause the brain to release large amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that causes people to feel happy. Because opioids cause the brain to release dopamine, individuals that take opioids feel a sense of euphoria that distracts them from their pain.
Unfortunately, this feeling of euphoria is addictive. Once individuals develop an opioid addiction, enough chemical changes have been made to the brain to cause the brain to become dependent on opioids. After time, the brain depends on opioids to get any dopamine or feel any happiness at all.
Examples of common prescription opioids include Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin. Heroin is a common non-prescription, illegal opioid.
People most use benzodiazepines to treat anxiety and insomnia. Some doctors even prescribe benzodiazepines to treat seizures.
Like opioids, people that use benzodiazepines often develop an addiction to their prescription medications. This is because benzos cause the chemicals in the brain to make people feel a sense of pleasure.
The chemical changes within the brain of a person that uses benzos continue to persist for a long time. This eventually causes people to become dependent on benzodiazepines to function or feel pleasure. Common types of benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan and Ambien.
Similar to opioids and other prescription medications, prescription drug abuse of benzodiazepines is often due to people taking too many of their prescription medications at the same time or using their prescription medications for too long a period of time. Other individuals that choose to abuse benzos do so for their relaxing effect on the body and mind.
Barbiturates are sedative-hypnotic drugs. People use barbiturates to treat everything from seizures to neonatal withdrawal, to insomnia and preoperative anxiety. Barbiturates can also be used to induce people into comas or anesthesia.
Many people engage in prescription drug abuse of barbiturates because they want to feel the substance’s mildly euphoric effects. Individuals also use barbiturates to induce sleep, reduce anxiety, decrease inhibitions, and treat negative illicit drug effects.
Barbiturates are very strong. Thus, there’s a strong chance that individuals that use barbiturates will become victims of prescription drug abuse. Mixing barbiturates with other substances such as alcohol or heroin only makes this sedative even more addictive. In fact, mixing barbiturates with other substances could easily cause an overdose.
Stimulants are prescription medications that cause the body to feel energized and awake while also increasing levels of dopamine in the brain. In turn, stimulants induce pleasure. Many people that misuse substances do so either to increase their performance and productivity in school/work or for its euphoric effects.
Common prescription drug forms of stimulants include Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta. Common illegal drug forms of stimulants include cocaine and methamphetamine.
Prescription drug abuse can occur for a number of reasons. Many people abuse prescription drugs because they do not follow their doctors’ guidelines when taking their prescriptions. For example, they choose to take more pills a day of their prescription than they’re supposed to or they choose to take their prescription for a longer period of time than they’re supposed to.
Other people start abusing prescription drugs just to experience euphoria. Oftentimes, people with mental illnesses will even start abusing prescription drugs to cope.
When it comes to facts about prescription drug abuse, the National Center for Drug Abuse reported in 2018 that 53 million people, or 19.4% of the U.S. population that were 12 years or older, know what it’s like to abuse a drug. Of that number, 6% abused prescription medications, 9% abused stimulants, and 1% abused benzos.
There are classic signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse. These signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse can vary depending on the medication that a person is using. Some signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse include:
Detox is the process of ridding the body of substances. Because of how addictive prescription drugs are, most people that detox from prescription drugs experience severe withdrawal symptoms. As a result, it’s imperative that individuals that detox from prescription drugs do so through a medical detox facility. This is especially true for individuals that are detoxing from opioids.
That way, when such individuals experience severe withdrawal symptoms, they can receive prescription withdrawal medications to help them manage them. The practice of giving individuals prescription medications to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms during detox is called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT.
The most common form of prescription drugs is that of painkillers such as opioids. Common painkiller prescription drug withdrawal symptoms include:
Once individuals complete detox from their prescription drugs, they must attend prescription drug abuse addiction treatment. Prescription drug abuse treatment can be inpatient or outpatient.
Inpatient treatment is addiction treatment that requires patients to live in rehab facilities while receiving care. Addiction treatment that is inpatient is for people with severe addictions. Because inpatient treatment is for individuals with severe addictions, this form of treatment involves 24/7 care and supervision.
There are two forms of inpatient treatment that individuals that struggle with prescription drug abuse can attend. These two forms of inpatient treatment are standard inpatient treatment and residential inpatient treatment.
While both standard inpatient treatment and residential treatment require their patients to live in rehab facilities while receiving 24/7 care, there is a difference between the two. This difference is the fact that standard inpatient treatment is much more structured than residential treatment. Therefore individuals that attend residential treatment for prescription drug abuse will have more free time to themselves and more time to try out holistic forms of addiction treatment.
Individuals that don’t necessarily suffer from severe prescription drug addictions and/or individuals that have too many life responsibilities to be able to live in a rehab facility while receiving care can attend outpatient treatment. This is because outpatient forms of rehab allow individuals to live at home when not receiving care. There are three different forms of outpatient treatment that people that struggle with prescription drug abuse can attend.
The most intensive form of outpatient treatment, and likely the best form of outpatient treatment for a person that struggles with abuse from a highly addictive substance such as most prescription drugs, is partial hospitalization program (PHP) treatment. Partial hospitalization program treatment requires patients to attend rehab for five to eight hours a day, five to seven days a week.
Because PHP treatment requires individuals to essentially attend rehab all day, another name for this type of outpatient treatment is day treatment. Individuals that plan to attend PHP, or day treatment, should suffer from moderate to severe addictions.
The second most intense form of outpatient treatment that people that struggle with prescription drug abuse can attend is intensive outpatient program (IOP) treatment. IOP treatment requires patients to attend rehab for a few hours a day, a few days a week. Individuals that plan to attend IOP treatment should suffer from moderate-level addictions.
The standard form of outpatient treatment, or outpatient program (OP) treatment, only requires its patients to attend rehab for a couple of hours a day, once or twice a week. This is because outpatient program treatment is for individuals that suffer from mild to moderate level addictions.
Grace Land Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center that specializes in treating co-occurring disorders and regular substance addictions. Here at Grace Land Recovery, we understand that people can become addicted to prescription and illegal substances.
That’s why we offer specialized addiction and co-occurring treatment for a wide variety of illegal and on-illegal substances. This includes addiction treatment for prescription drugs. In fact, Grace Land Recovery offers addiction treatment programs that are specialized by specific types of prescription drugs.
To learn more about the different addiction treatment and therapy programs and services that we offer here at Grace Land Recovery, contact us today!