Prescription Drug Addiction: A Growing Problem That Must Be Taken Seriously

Many people see their doctor and get a prescription for a medication, which they take as directed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, however, approximately 20 percent of people in the U.S. have used a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose. This type of behavior can open the door to drug abuse and addiction. The fact that the medication was originally prescribed by a doctor does not make it any less serious than if the person was using street drugs.

Prescription Drug Abuse Overview

The following prescription drug abuse facts were provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the third most commonly abused substances by Americans over the age of 14. (Marijuana and alcohol are the two most commonly abused substances.)
  • Opioid painkillers, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, are the most commonly abused prescription drugs, followed by stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Ritalin and Adderall).
  • Sharing unused medications, such as pain relievers, with family members can contribute to drug abuse.
  • Drug abusers will crush the tablets so that they can snort the powder or inject it using a needle. This delivers the dosage into the bloodstream more quickly and provides a faster, more intense “high.”

Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

Indications that someone may “need” a prescription drug to function include:

  • Increased dosage over time
  • Ongoing use, even after the condition being treated has healed or resolved
  • Spending a lot of time seeking medication, or visiting multiple doctors to get prescriptions
  • Change in personal appearance
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Being defensive about drug use

Be alert for changes in a loved one’s behavior after he or she starts using a prescription medication. Someone who develops a pattern of complaining of chronic pain after an injury should have healed or who starts “losing” prescriptions and needs to see the doctor to get a replacement written may be dealing with a different issue entirely.

Get Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

When a problem with prescription drug addiction has been identified, it should be dealt with promptly. These medications have the potential to cause serious harm to the addict’s health or even death if he or she does not get appropriate treatment.

The staff at Above It All Treatment Center have the expertise to provide supportive help to clients who are dealing with a prescription drug issue. They will devise an individual treatment plan designed to address each person’s needs, including a pain management plan, if appropriate.

Sleep Deprivation Can Set The Stage For Drug Addiction

Lack of sleep is an all-too-common problem in modern society. As we rush from one activity to the next, all too often we sacrifice getting the rest we need to cram more “stuff” into our already jam-packed schedules. This would be a mistake, since sleep deprivation (failing to get at least 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night) leads to the following behavioral effects:

• Stress and anxiety
• Depression and irritability
• Difficulty concentrating
• Lower creativity level
• Impaired motor skills

Prescription Medications for Sleep Deprivation

Prescription medications, such as Ativan (lorazepam) may be prescribed as a short-term solution to a person who is having difficulty sleeping. This medication is part of a group of drugs called benzodiazepines and may be used to treat anxiety disorders.

Ativan is not meant to be taken over a long period of time, as this medication is addictive. Patients who are prescribed the drug should read the instructions carefully and only take the dosage as directed by their doctor. It should only be taken by the person for whom it was prescribed.

This medication should not be stopped all at once. A patient who has been taking Ativan who wishes to stop using the medication should discuss his or her plans with the doctor. The dosage may need to be slowly lowered over time to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Signs of Ativan Addiction

Indications that a person may have developed an Ativan addiction are as follows:

• Cravings for the drug
• Restlessness or tiredness
• Irritability
• Confusion
• Sweating without engaging in physical activity
• Tingling sensation throughout the entire body
• Rapid heart rate
• Memory loss
• Panic attacks
• Hallucinations
• Nausea
• Vomiting

How to Safely Dispose of Unused or Expired Medication

If one of your goals is to get organized and de-clutter your home, be sure you add your medicine cabinet to your list of spaces requiring your attention. If you can’t remember the last time you disposed of any unused or expired medication, it’s time to go through these items to ensure you don’t have any possible hazards lurking in your home.

Prescription medications have a specific shelf life. After a certain point, they will no longer be as effective at treating the condition for which they were prescribed. Everyone has been guilty of not finishing a prescription given to him or her by a doctor, for whatever reason. In some cases, the medication did not provide the expected results or it produced unwanted side effects. In any event, the prescription bottles with the unfinished prescriptions end up in the cabinet. In some cases, they may sit there for years.

Medicine Cabinet Contents Pose a Health Hazard

You may not consider the contents of your medicine cabinet as possibly contributing to drug abuse, but addiction to prescription medication is a growing problem. While it may never occur to you to take a medication that has been prescribed for someone else, a family member may be experimenting with drugs or already have developed a dependency on a particular one.

The best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on the medications you are currently taking and clean out your medicine cabinet to dispose of other drugs safely.

Dispose of Your Unused Medications Properly

• Do not dispose of medications by flushing them down the toilet unless the instructions specifically state that this is the preferred disposal method.
• Contact your local pharmacy or household recycling service to ask about community drug take-back programs in your area. You may be able to bring the unused prescriptions to a central location for proper disposal.
• If there are no community take-back services available, remove the medication from its original container. Mix with used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The idea is to make the pills undesirable to someone who may come across them in your garbage. Place them in a sealed plastic bag or an empty can and then put in a large garbage bag for disposal.

If You Have Questions About Prescription Drug Abuse

Cleaning out your unused or expired medication is the responsible thing to do. If you find that after you have completed this task, you are missing pills from your current prescriptions or other events lead you to believe that you have an addict in the family, don’t wait to get help. Call us at 1-888-997-3006.

Above It All Drug Treatment Center Helps People Addicted To Prescription Pain Medication

A dependence on prescription medications for pain can start innocently enough. They may be prescribed following surgery or to treat an acute injury. In some instances, the medication is used to treat chronic pain. When the level of medication is not high enough to provide relief from the pain, you or your loved one goes back to the doctor to either ask about using a higher dose of the drug or to change to a different medication entirely.

No one wants to be in pain, and it’s understandable that you would be looking for ways to make the hurting stop. Unfortunately, it’s possible to develop a tolerance for these drugs over time, which means that you have to take higher doses to in an attempt to get relief from the pain. Some pain medications result in a physical dependency, where you must keep taking the drug to avoid going into withdrawal.

Signs of Prescription Medication Addiction

Some people think that they can’t have a problem with pain killers or other medications because they have been prescribed by a doctor. Nothing could be further from the truth. How can you tell there is a problem with prescription medication addiction that may require treatment or drug rehab in CA? Here are some signs that you or someone you care for may have a problem:

•Continuing to use the drug after the pain it was prescribed for has resolved
•Lack of interest in alternative treatment methods other than taking medication
•Seeing more than one doctor to get prescriptions for pain medication
•Taking a higher dose than the level recommended by the doctor
•Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when a dose is missed. These may include night sweats, muscle aches and insomnia
•Using prescriptions prescribed for other people
•Buying medication off the street

Prescription medication addiction is not “better” than any other type of addiction. It’s an addiction – period. Someone who is an addict needs help to get well.

Find a Treatment Center to Get the Help for Yourself or a Loved One

Often the hardest part of the process when dealing with any type of addiction is admitting that there is a problem. This disease is so wrapped up in guilt, shame, and embarrassment that it is difficult for people who are hurting to get treatment.

This is a problem that millions of people have had to deal with, and it’s more common than you realize. You don’t have to stay stuck in the cycle of addiction when you can get help from caring professional drug counselors. Contact the Above It All Inpatient Treatment Center today. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Link Between Prescription Drug And Alcohol Abuse

Studies show alcoholics to be 18x more likely to abuse prescription drugs than individuals who use alcohol on a mild to moderate basis… An alarming statistic, especially considering the dangers and risks associated with combined usage. In this entry, we will outline the links and health issues associated with alcohol and prescription medication abuse in an effort to inform and educate our readers of these dangers.

The combination of prescription drugs and alcohol poses numerous risks to users, including vomiting, alcohol poisoning, blackouts, loss of consciousness respiratory depression and even death. In addition, many combination users show an increased likelihood of risky behaviors; engaging in activities that would otherwise feel inappropriate if sober. Common behaviors include unplanned or unprotected sex, DUI and the loss of judgment and inhibition.

Though prescription drugs certainly serve a valuable role in the medical community; when used in excess, or in ways other than directed, the risks associated with use are drastically heightened. Of these substances, the most commonly abused are those in the opioid family (pain medications). Due to ease of access and a perceived level of social acceptance, pain medications are often combined with alcohol to achieve a “better high”. Unfortunately, this high also poses a much higher risk of accidental overdose; with rates higher than both heroin and cocaine combined.

When it comes to user demographics, studies show people ages 18 – 24 posing the highest risk for binge drinking, nonmendical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) and alcohol use disorders. The risks of NMUPD are heightened substantially among alcohol abusers (22.02%) when compared to individuals who choose to abstain from alcohol completely (1.26%)

Many users choose to combine prescription drug use with alcohol in an effort to intensify the effects of each substance. Though this tactic often provides the user with the desired effect, the risk of experiencing additional and unintended side effects, including nausea, dizziness, increased sedation, drowsiness and even death, are once again drastically heightened. To boot, these risks do not apply solely to long-term users, but to any and all individuals engaged in combined use….  In other words, “one time” may be one time too many.

If you or someone you know are considering, experimenting, or are currently having issues with drug and alcohol use, Above It All’s drug rehab addiction specialists are available to help. One quick call to our beautiful rehab center in Los Angeles, CA, will provide you with the information, education, support and guidance you need to make the right step towards you or your loved one’s recovery. Representatives are standing by 24/7. Call today!

Our Prescription Drug Treatment Programs

Our prescription drug treatment program has been carried out on many patients throughout the years. A number of factors dictate the type of treatment required for a successful recovery; the most important of these being the type of drug on which the individual is dependent. The number of prescription medications known to result in addiction is vast, and includes sedatives, stimulants, and painkillers.

Each medication possesses a specific set of effects and side effects. With this in mind, it’s important to note that treatment must be specific to the type of drug addiction being combated. Patients who have built up an addiction to these types of substances must first be carefully evaluated and examined prior to fully committing to a long term drug rehabilitation plan.

In many ways, prescription drug treatment is quite similar to treatments used to combat other types of addiction. A large sum of the techniques used throughout our prescription program are found to be just as helpful as those utilized in heroin and oxycontin rehab plans. In most of our rehabilitation programs, the best treatment in weaning patients from prescription drug medications comes in the form of a combination of several treatment options. However, before a proper treatment plan can be determined, a proper detoxification program must be implemented

Detox is used as a way to help counter the withdrawal symptoms commonly experienced once drug consumption is halted. Different symptoms are associated with different medications, and vary in severity and intensity depending on the use history and amounts.

Additional methods used during treatment include addiction counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy. Both methods serve in altering exactly how the individual approaches drug issues and daily life.

Truth be told, there is only one sure-fire way to achieve a complete and successful recovery: A commitment to oneself to address the situation head on. Counselors and addiction specialists can attempt to educate patients regarding the dangers associated with their addictions, but without the proper drive and push, the risk of relapse is almost inevitable.