When people think of addiction, it’s common for them to think of alcohol or drug addiction. Drug addiction is a problem with hard street drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine, but there is a much worse drug that has been causing an epidemic around the US. Every day, more and more people of all ages are developing a prescription addiction and suffering from overdoses.
In recent years, prescription drugs have been the leading cause of overdoses in the United States. The other most common overdoses come from heroin and cocaine, but overdoses as a result of prescription drug abuse are more than both of these drugs combined. The growing problem with prescription drugs is due to easy accessibility by people of all ages.
Aside from alcohol, prescription medications are the easiest mind-altering substances to obtain. For some people, it may be simpler to find access to prescription drugs than it is for them to find alcohol.
How People Develop a Prescription Addiction
Prescription drugs were created with the best intentions. They’re meant to help with pain management and balance certain psychological disorders, but some people have an adverse reaction to these types of medications. Many people never had a problem with drug or alcohol abuse in the past, but after being prescribed certain medications, they find that they soon lose control of their using. There are also others who seek out different types of highs and conclude that these drugs are readily available.
Those who suffer from prescription addiction have an abnormality with the prefrontal cortex in their brain. This portion of the brain is responsible for impulse control, self-awareness and logical decision-making skills. When the person takes these narcotic medications, the pleasure system in the brain goes haywire and floods the system with dopamine. The prefrontal cortex is unable to moderate the flow of dopamine, so the person feels a euphoric feeling that they begin to crave.
Over time, the person starts to turn to these drugs for a multitude of situations. Not only are they seeking the high, but they’re turning to these medications as a way to cope with life and deal with stress. The brain begins to retrain itself and trigger the person’s cravings when they start to feel certain emotions or when the person is in certain situations.
Breaking the Cycle
By going to a qualified inpatient or outpatient treatment center, the addict is making the first step towards a life of recovery. Outpatient centers are for younger people and those who suffer from lesser forms of addiction. Inpatient treatment is the best option for addicts who have repeatedly relapsed or are a danger to themselves or others.
The person can see which treatment center is best for them by consulting an addiction specialist. The specialist will evaluate the person’s mental and physical health to determine what method will work best for the addict. Detox is the first step after completing an evaluation.
One of the most common causes of health issues as a result of prescription addiction is when the person experiences symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s way of forcing the individual to ingest more of the drug.
Medical detox provides the person with medically supervised care to ensure their heart rate and blood pressure is under control while the medications leave their system. A variety of detox drugs is available to help lessen the symptoms of withdrawal. Suboxone is a drug that helps opiate addicts through withdrawal by mimicking the effects of the narcotic.
When the detox process is complete, the person can begin to recover from a variety of different programs that include individual and group therapy. They’ll find that they can live a life beyond what they ever imagined by staying clean one day at a time.