Prescription drug abuse is a scary and very real problem that can affect both teenagers and older adults. Addiction can begin in a variety of ways. Some become an addict after taking prescribed medications after an injury. Other addictions may begin by exploring with drugs and eventually becoming addicted.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, two out of every ten 12th graders report using prescription drugs without a prescription. In fact, statistics show those who use drugs at a younger age are more likely to develop addiction issues later in life.
Opioids, sedatives, stimulants, and anti-anxiety medications tend to be the most abused prescription drugs. Often, the abuser will have no idea they have become addicted until they delay or stop taking the drug and notice symptoms. Here are some explanations as to why these drugs tend to be the most addictive substances.
Types of Prescription Drugs
Examples of these drugs are hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and oxycodone. Doctors have increased the prescribing of these drugs since the 1990s since they manage pain well. If used over a short time period, it is actually quite difficult to become addicted to opioids. However, if used over a long period of time, opioids are extremely addictive and can even be deadly.
When you take stimulants, your body feels energetic. You may be more alert and have an increased attention span. While these effects may sound enticing, stimulants also increase blood sugar, blood pressure, and increase your heart rate. They can also narrow blood vessels.
Physicians have used stimulants to treat obesity as they make you less hungry and help your body burn calories faster. They have also used stimulants to treat asthma by helping to dilate breathing passages. Stimulants are even used to treat ADHD and depression.
For those who misuse stimulants, the result is often feelings of paranoia, impaired judgment, and psychosis.
Sedatives are used to treat conditions from anxiety to seizures, sedatives can affect a user for more than a day. These drugs are used to depress many of the body’s functions. Therefore, driving and operating machinery should never be done when taking a sedative.
Sedatives are also particularly dangerous when mixed with other substances that can also make a person sleepy. Examples of these substances are opiates, alcohol, and cold medicines.
Dealing with some anxiety is common for most people. However, when anxiety begins to have a significant impact on your daily life, a physician may find it appropriate to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication.
Most anti-anxiety medications fall into the benzodiazepine family. These drugs offer relief from anxiety issues for a short period of time. Prolonged use of anti-anxiety medications can cause psychological dependency as well as a built tolerance for the drugs. It is especially important to speak to your doctor before you discontinue the use of anti-anxiety medications as they can cause withdrawal issues if stopped incorrectly.
Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
Signs of prescription drug addiction can vary from person to person and also depend on the type of drug that is being taken. Some common signs are drowsiness, slurred speech, and confusion. Some people experience insomnia or agitation, and those addicted to opioids can suffer an increased sensitivity to pain even after taking higher doses of the medication.
In more severe addiction cases, addicts may steal money to purchase prescription drugs or forge documents to get them. They may also request early refills and claim to have a problem with their prescriptions. An example would be claiming to lose their medications. It can be helpful to take a prescription drug addiction test to see if your loved one has a real issue to be concerned about.
Family history could be considered a risk factor if there have been addiction issues with parents. Others with pre-existing psychiatric conditions may have a disposition that favors addiction. Making prescription medication easy for others to access could also put others in the home at risk for drug abuse, and peer pressure is another giant risk.
Prevention of Drug Abuse in Teens
Parents play a tremendous role in helping to prevent addiction with their children. Here are some ideas to help you have productive discussions with your teenagers should you suspect drug activity.
Help your children understand that it is not acceptable to take medications that are not prescribed to them, and it is also not okay to give medications to their friends. Explain how important it is to take the recommended dosage of medication and nothing over.
Explain the Risks
Let your children know that drugs are dangerous even if they are prescribed by a doctor. This is especially true if they are taking other medications that might not mix. This would also be a great time to explain the risk of mixing drugs with alcohol.
Put Prescription Drugs in a Safe Place
Make sure your children cannot easily access prescription drugs and explain why they are not left out within reach.
Take the Prescription Drug Addiction Test
Disclaimer: This prescription drug addiction test is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be addicted to prescription medications, it is a good idea to consult an addiction specialist immediately.
Am I Addicted to Prescription Medications?
For many teenagers and some adults, they may have difficulty knowing when their drug use has gotten out of hand. Here are some questions that they can ask themselves to help answer the question, “Am I addicted to prescription medications?”
If you answered yes to any of these prescription drug addiction test questions, please give our office a call. The team at Mission Harbor is here to help to make sure prescription medications don’t keep you from living the best life possible. Contact us today if you or a loved one needs help.
The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.
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