More American adults than ever before are turning to prescription drugs to cure their ailments. At least thirty-four percent of Americans are taking one or more prescribed medications. Prescription medications are quickly becoming the go-to way to resolve all types of common conditions, including stress and anxiety.
Prescription Medication Safety
Americans may be lulled into a false sense of security regarding prescription medication, figuring it must be safe because their doctor prescribed it. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has conducted studies involving patients who share prescription medication with friends and family. The studies found that many people were unaware of the dangers that sharing medication may bring.
The Dangers of Narcotics and Addiction
One of the most dangerous categories of prescription medication includes narcotics. It is estimated that approximately three out of four overdoses each year involve narcotic drugs. Narcotics can be extremely addicting, requiring higher doses of the medication to maintain the same level of relief to the body. After a person has been taking certain drugs for an extended period of time, their body’s tolerance for the medication builds. Most people are aware that you can become addicted to medication that you are taking for recreational use and may not be actively prescribed to, however addiction can also occur even when you are taking prescribed medication, so it is important to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Commonly Abused Prescription Medications
Some prescription medications are more commonly abused than others. The top three categories of drugs that are abused the most are opioids (narcotic painkillers), stimulants, and central nervous system depressants.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Addiction
Addiction may not be easily noticeable at first. There are many different side effects associated with a wide variety of medications, so some side effects of addiction may simply be side effects of taking the medication.
One symptom that may signal addiction to prescription medication is an onset of erratic behavior. You may notice erratic behavior in someone addicted to medication if they are desperate to replenish their medication supply or engage in risky behaviors in order to get more of the medication. Some addicts even resort to forging prescriptions or trying to get their prescription filled at multiple pharmacies at once.
Treatment and Recovering From Addiction
Addiction can be very difficult to overcome, but there are many resources available to help individuals suffering from addiction to medication. There are rehabilitation and treatment centers that specialize in helping addicts recover. These facilities can help addicts through all stages of recovery, including the initial withdrawal physical symptoms. Trained professionals also work with people suffering from addiction to help them work through their emotional dependency on the medication. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends behavior therapies for the treatment of addiction in conjunction with detox treatments.
Reducing Medication Dependency
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has begun monitoring prescription dispensaries such as pharmacies in an effort to help control the prescription drug use epidemic. As of 2011, there are thirty-seven states that have implemented prescription drug monitoring programs. These efforts may help to fight the epidemic of prescription medication abuse.
Tharros Sobriety House
At Tharros House Structured Living in the Boston area of Massachusetts, we find that people have the most success battling prescription drug addiction when exposed to various ideas and are given the power to choose their own path to recovery. It’s important to identify what’s meaningful for you in order to direct your own recovery. Visit www.tharroshouse.com to learn more about this approach.