Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in American society, with millions of people misusing legal medications on a regular basis. While prescription drug abuse involves a wide range of drugs, the vast majority of them fall into three distinct classes: opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants.
Drug treatment centers deal with the effects of substance abuse every day, with people often requiring medical detox during the withdrawal period and ongoing therapy programs to manage long-term recovery. Find the perfect program to help someone suffering from substance abuse by calling Drug Treatment Centers Cary at (919) 443-3258.
Prescription drug abuse involves the misuse and over-use of legal medications, either obtained through the medical system or on the black market. There are many possible ways to abuse prescription medications, including using larger doses than prescribed, using other people’s medications, combining prescriptions, and using different methods of administration than intended.
While illicit drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine get most of the media attention, the abuse of prescription medications is widespread in American society.
While many signs of drug abuse are dependent on particular substances, there are some general signs associated with drug abuse and dependence. If you are worried about a friend, family member or co-worker, there are some tell-tale signs that point towards drug issues.
People with a prescribed medication abuse problem may start stealing and forging prescriptions, taking higher doses than prescribed, and visiting more than one doctor at a time in a process known as “doctor shopping”. The behavioral effects of substance abuse may also be easy to recognize, including excessive mood swings, poor decision making, and changes to sleeping patterns.
Intervention is often required before someone will deal with their drug issues, with drug rehab centers able to recognize and treat drug problems before they get out of hand.
Prescription opioids are the most widely abused of all legal medications, with these drugs normally taken to treat acute and chronic pain. The most commonly abused opioid drugs are oxycodone and hydrocodone, available in the United States as OxyContin and Vicodin.
Other prescription opioids are also abused, including morphine, methadone, fentanyl and hydromorphone. Common signs of opioid abuse include constipation, low blood pressure, confusion, depression, sweating, itching, headaches, poor coordination and decreased breathing rate.
While people generally misuse opioids to experience feelings of elation and euphoria, long-term use can lead to depression disorders, tolerance and dependence. A formal medical detoxification period is often required with opioid abuse cases, with opiate replacement therapy also administered for people with an extensive history of opioid abuse.
This class of drugs includes a wide range of sedatives and anti-anxiety medications, including benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine sleeping aids and barbiturates. Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax and Ambien are widely abused for their sedative and hypnotic qualities, with long-term use causing tolerance and dependence.
Common signs of sedative abuse include mental confusion, drowsiness, unsteady walking, poor judgment, dizziness and involuntary rapid eye movement. While the short-term use of CNS depressants for medical reasons is often harmless, misuse can lead to overdose and a range of adverse physical symptoms.
Stimulants include amphetamines and methylphenidate drugs such as Ritalin that are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These drugs are available through the medical system and on the black market, with some people using prescription amphetamines as an alternative to the potent street drug methamphetamine.
Common signs of stimulant abuse include weight loss, agitation, insomnia, irritability, high blood pressure, restlessness, impulsive behavior and irregular heartbeat. Prescription stimulant abuse can be treated at specialized drug rehab centers, with medication sometimes used to stabilize patients and on-going behavioral therapy administered to treat the precedents of drug addiction.