How Can I Help A Loved One Whos Addicted To Prescription Drugs
If you think a family member or close friend is abusing prescription drugs, talk with your doctor. They can refer you to drug treatment programs that might help. You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration crisis line at 1-800-662-HELP .
Talk to the person about your concerns so they know that youâre aware of the problem. Be prepared for a lot of resistance and denial. Many people with addiction must face serious effects before they recognize that they have a problem and want help. Then, stand beside the person as they work to move beyond the addiction.
History Of Methadone Use
During World War II, German medics used a new, synthetic drug to treat soldiers when morphine stores ran low. The drug, which had been developed a decade before by German scientists Max Bockmühl and Gustav Ehrhart, was lauded as an effective and less addictive substitute for painkillers like morphine and opiates. News of the drug crossed battle lines to reach allied forces by the end of the war, the United States had secured the rights to Bockmühl and Ehrharts drug: methadone.
Methadone reached the United States in 1947. Upon its release, the drug was advertised as an all-purpose pain medication. It wasnt until 1971, however, that the FDA approved methadone as a viable medical treatment for heroin and other narcotic abuse. Thirty years later, the FDA shifted regulatory control to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , which issued new regulations that enabled physicians to prescribe methadone to their patients in recovery programs as well as those suffering from chronic pain.
Learn About Prescription Painkiller Addiction
It should be made clear that absolutely no one decides to become addicted to prescription painkillers. No one swallows their first OxyContin and thinks about how theyre now going to alienate their loved ones, lose their job, or become involved on the wrong side of law enforcement. However, while the abuse of illegal street drugs is on the decline in the United States, the abuse of prescription painkillers in on the rise.
Like all commonly abused drugs, opiate narcotics prescription painkillers are known to stimulate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasurable feelings. Usage of opiate painkillers creates, alongside analgesia, feelings of happiness and the sensation that all is right with the world. These feelings are similarly stimulated by eating food, drinking water, caring for children, and having sex, all activities necessary for sustaining life. As such, these activities, like prescription painkillers, stimulate the reward system of the brain and release a flood of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
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The Effects Of Drug Abuse On Health
Substance use disorders are associated with a wide range of short- and long-term health effects. They can vary depending on the type of drug, how much and how often its taken and the persons general health. Overall, the effects of drug abuse and dependence can be far-reaching. They can impact almost every organ in the human body.
Side effects of drug addiction may include:
- A weakened immune system, increasing the risk of illness and infection
- Heart conditions ranging from abnormal heart rates to heart attacks and collapsed veins and blood vessel infections from injected drugs
- Nausea and abdominal pain, which can also lead to changes in appetite and weight loss
- Increased strain on the liver, which puts the person at risk of significant liver damage or liver failure
- Seizures, stroke, mental confusion and brain damage
- Problems with memory, attention and decision-making, which make daily living more difficult
- Global effects of drugs on the body, such as breast development in men and increases in body temperature, which can lead to other health problems
The most severe health consequences of drug abuse is death. Deaths related to synthetic opioids and heroin have seen the sharpest rise. In the past 12 months, 212,000 people aged 12 or older have used heroin for the first time. Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids.
How Do Drugs Affect The Brain
In the brain, there are neurons. These are responsible for transmitting information to other nerve cells and muscles. Also, neurons aid in the release of neurotransmitters. So, when medications are consumed, the effects of drugs will be an alteration of the function of the neurons. This alteration will either enhance or interfere with the activity of the neurotransmitters and receptors in the synapses of the brain. According to Principles of Addiction and Law, aside from alcohol, psychoactive substances that affect the neurotransmitters dopamine are the most common drugs that affect the brain. Some of these psychoactive substances include Heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
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How Do Drugs Affect The Heart
How do drugs affect the heart? Medications affect the heart by causing changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse rate. According to the American Heart Association, illegal drugs may affect the heart, and the most dangerous one is the cocaine substance. Furthermore, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, drug-induced heart failure may also be caused by antidepressant drugs. Some of these include tricyclic antidepressants, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors , and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors .
What Are The Effects Of Methamphetamine Abuse
Increased energy and wakefulness, decreased appetite, and elevated functions of the central nervous system accompany methamphetamine use, as the drug is a stimulant. Meth can impair the way a person thinks and may lead to bouts of aggression and violence as well as other out-of-character behaviors.
Meth use is often compulsive as the drug is powerfully addictive, and long-term use can cause significant weight loss, sleeping issues, irregular heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations, paranoia, irritability, itching of the skin that can lead to abscesses and sores, dental problems and tooth decay , mental confusion and cognitive deficits, and worsening HIV symptoms. Long-term methamphetamine use can cause damage to the brain, lessening learning, thinking, processing, and memory functions that may take years to regain. Some of this damage may be irreversible, NIDA warns.
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Learn About The Causes And Risk Factors For Prescription Drug Addiction
Most researchers believe that addiction is caused by a number of risk factors working together to create addiction to prescription drugs. The most commonly cited causes for prescription drug abuse include:
Genetic: People who have first-degree relatives, such as a parent or sibling, who struggle with addiction are at a greater risk for developing an addiction as opposed to people who do not have a similar history.
Physical: People who struggle with chronic health conditions, such as pain-related conditions, or mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, are at greater risk for developing addiction to prescription drugs. These individuals may begin using medications in order to help with the pain they are experiencing or to control symptoms of other disorders only to come to rely on them to get through the day.
Environmental: Environmental stressors can have a huge impact in the development of addiction. People who began to abuse drugs and alcohol early in their youth are at greater risk for developing an addiction later in life. Additionally, having a peer group or circle of friends who abuse drugs may influence someone to abuse prescription medication.
- Younger age between the teen years and early 20s
- Presence of mental health disorders
- Easy access to prescription drugs
- Lack of knowledge about prescription drugs
Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
Can A Person Overdose On Prescription Opioids
Yes, a person can overdose on prescription opioids. An opioid overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. When people overdose on an opioid medication, their breathing often slows or stops. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, which can result in coma, permanent brain damage, or death.
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Effects Of Drugs On The Body Systems
When a certain medication is consumed, expect that other body systems will also be affected. It does not mean that a drug for the heart would only affect the cardiovascular system. For example, the drug Clonidine is known to manage hypertension. However, this substance may also cause behavioral effects.
Learn About Prescription Drugs And Substance Abuse
Most people go to the doctor for legitimate medical reasons and are prescribed medication to manage a host of conditions. Most people take these medications as directed and stop when the course of medication is over. However, some individuals come to like the effects of certain types of prescription medications and continue using these drugs in a manner other than intended by the physician.
Prescription drug abuse is the usage of prescription medications in a way not intended by the prescribing physician for the effects produced by taking the drug. Prescription drug abuse includes acts such as using a loved ones prescription pain killers to relieve symptoms of a particularly brutal migraine. Others may crush up the prescription medications and snort them or dilute the powdered drug in water for injection to obtain a strong high or rush. The most common classes of prescription drugs that are abused include prescription painkillers, sedatives, anti-anxiety agents, and stimulants.
Anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives, including Xanax, Valium, and Ambien, are prescribed to individuals who are struggling with anxiety or sleep disorders. Individuals who abuse these drugs often report doing so in order to counteract the effects of stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine, or to increase intoxication by mixing them with other downers such as alcohol or opioid narcotics.
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The Hidden Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse
The presence of addiction can be deceptively subtle. This is especially true in the signs of prescription drug abuse. If you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from a substance use disorder, please view this page to learn more about the common symptoms in this type of addiction.
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is when you take a medication for a reason other than why the doctor prescribed it. Experts estimate that more than 18 million people ages 12 and older have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in the previous year. Thatâs more than 6% of the U.S. population.
Abusing drugs — even prescription drugs — can change how your brain works. Most people start by choosing to take these medications. But over time, the changes in your brain affect your self-control and your ability to make good decisions. At the same time, you have intense urges to take more drugs.
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Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
Sometimes the first step is simply talking with your doctor or some other professional that understands addiction. Talking to someone about a problem with prescription drug use can feel humiliating or dangerous, but remember, nothing is more dangerous than losing everything that matters to you or risking your life. Medical and addiction recovery professionals are trained specifically to offer help to people with the medical problem that is an addiction, not to judge people. Its so much easier to tackle addiction early before it gets worse and leads to long-term trouble thats harder to recover from.
If you or someone you love exhibits any of these signs of prescription drug addiction, residential treatment at Casa Palmera can put you or your loved one on the road to recovery. Our prescription drug addiction treatment program provides a structured environment thats free of temptations and distractions and provides round-the-clock care and support to help the individual focus on recovery. Our caring, highly skilled staff will provide supervised detoxification from the prescription drugs harmful toxins, individual and group therapy to learn new behavior skills, and holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation and other therapies to heal the spirit and mind as well as the body.
Dont let prescription drug abuse and chronic pain define who you are any longer. Get the help you need and deserve at a quality prescription drug addiction rehab.
Effects Of Drugs On The Kidneys
The kidneys job is to remove the toxic effects of drugs from the blood stream, but long-term drug use affects how well the kidneys are able to function.
Many different types of drugs can affect the kidneys, including heroin, cocaine, alcohol, painkillers, and MDMA. Prolonged use of these drugs can cause acute kidney inflammation as a result of infection, renal infarction, kidney lesions, and kidney failure.
Overall, drug use can negatively affect the structure and function of the kidneys and result in significant health issues.
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Behavioural And Social Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Addiction:
- Visiting multiple doctors for the same condition, to try and obtain multiple prescriptions
- Consuming prescription medication faster than indicated
- Ordering prescription medication over the internet
- Losing prescriptions and frequently requesting replacements
- Stealing or forging prescriptions
- Prioritising obtaining and taking prescription drugs over activities that you once enjoyed
- Feeling as though you want to stop taking prescription drugs, but finding that you are unable to
- Inability to stop thinking about when, where and how you will obtain prescription drugs, and feeling as though this is taking over your life
- Being secretive and defensive about your prescription drug use
- Avoiding contact with loved ones, leading to social isolation
- Neglecting your responsibilities
- Poor performance and/or attendance at work
- Continuing to take prescription drugs even after suffering negative consequences as a result e.g. social isolation, impaired work performance
Priory deliver expert addiction treatment and rehabilitation. To find out how we can help you to get your life back on track, call us today on 0800 144 8969 or enquire online. Book your FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Addiction
This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Niall Campbell in June 2020.
The symptoms of prescription drug addiction can vary from person to person and depend upon the type of prescription drug that you have been misusing, the frequency of your prescription drug use, and the amount of the prescription drug that you are consuming.
At Priory, we are able to offer comprehensive treatment for anyone struggling with a prescription drug addiction, and our world class addiction treatment teams are dedicated to empowering you to tackle your symptoms, and take steps towards a healthy, happy and positive way of life.
The following are signs that you, or someone that you know, may have a problem with prescription drug use:
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How Does Cocaine Affect The Body
A potent stimulant drug, cocaine speeds up the central nervous system while increasing alertness, energy, and euphoria. The high is short-lived and followed by a significant crash that causes fatigue, depression, sluggishness, and drug cravings. Cocaine significantly disrupts dopamine levels in the brain and can therefore severely alter moods. For this reason, cocaine is considered very addictive.
Stokes, seizures, and heart attacks are potential side effects of cocaine abuse, as the drug increases blood pressure rates, stiffens the aorta, and thickens the hearts ventricle walls, the American Heart Association reports. NIDA warns that chronic use of the drug can lead to malnutrition, the possible onset of a movement disorder like Parkinsons disease, and possible hallucinations and paranoia.
What Are The Other Health Effects Of Opioid Medications
Older adults are at higher risk of accidental misuse or abuse because they typically have multiple prescriptions and chronic diseases, increasing the risk of drug-drug and drug-disease interactions, as well as a slowed metabolism that affects the breakdown of drugs. Sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and from unprotected sex.
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Prescription Drug Addiction Phase I: Non
Non-medical use of prescription drugs is the first sign that someone is on the road to addiction. People who do not have a prescription for painkillers may experiment with them as a way to have fun or to help them cope with a problem. Sometimes this experimentation can occur without any desire to continue using the drug. For some people, however, non-medical experimentation can become a problem and move into the second stage of prescription drug addiction.
For people who do have medical prescription, non-medical use includes taking your prescription more often than prescribed, taking pills not prescribed to you, or taking more than the recommended dose. When a person starts taking their prescription non-medically, its usually a sign that theyre taking their painkillers to get high, as opposed to treating the pain. This is a strong indicator that a person is about to spiral into addiction.
Prescription Drug Addiction Phase Ii: Misuse
Misusing prescription drugs is similar to non-medical use, but its done at a chronic level. In other words, if youve taken more than the recommended dose a couple of times, this is considered non-medical use. But if you find yourself regularly misusing prescription drugs, then youve slipped into the second phase of prescription drug addiction. This is a crucial phase in addiction because it is where a persons tolerance is built up, which means they will have to keep increasing the dosage amount in order to keep experiencing the same pain relief or type of high. Tolerance is the gateway into dependence and addiction. Opiate painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl and others are especially prone to dependence and addiction if misused beyond their recommended doses.
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