Prescription Drug Abuse: How to Overcome the Battle

Prescription Drug Abuse: How to Overcome the Battle

If you have ever suffered from severe pain or anxiety, you can appreciate the need for prescription medications. When patients first start taking a prescription drug, they do not intend to become addicted. The process happens slowly as the individual moves from proper use to recreational use to intense addiction.

However, when the addiction takes over, it can come with serious consequences. Thankfully, addiction medicine helps treat patients with substance abuse problems. Treatment options may include withdrawal management, detox, and addiction prevention therapy.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Although many people take medications responsibly and as directed by a physician, there are still those who do not. Simply taking a prescription medication does not equal abuse, as long as the drug is taken as originally intended or prescribed.

What Is It?

Prescription drug abuse involves taking medication for a reason other than why it was prescribed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 18 million people abused prescription medications in 2017. The high prevalence of prescription drug use is likely due to the ease of access. 

The number of prescriptions for certain medications has increased since the 1990s making them more common and more readily available. Unfortunately, in many areas, there is a lack of information regarding the dangers of these medications so they are given out or taken without consideration for the addictive qualities.

With overuse, any medication can change the way your brain works. You may start out taking the medication as intended, but over time, the drug changes your self-control and you feel stronger urges to take more drugs.

Commonly Abused Medications

The National Institute on Drug abuse categorizes the most commonly abused prescription medications into four areas.

  • Depressants
  • Opioids and Morphine Derivatives
  • Stimulants
  • Other compounds

Opioid Abuse

Opioids are a category of drugs that include illegal heroin, synthetic opioids, and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. These drugs interact with the opioid receptors in the body and brain. 

When prescribed by a physician and used as directed for just a short time, opioids are generally safe. However, these drugs also produce a powerful euphoria in addition to pain relief. Misuse is common. Occasional misuse quickly leads to addiction and possibly overdose or death.

Treatment Options

Choosing to take back control from prescription drug abuse is a big step and is challenging for many patients. Thankfully, addiction medicine offers treatment options for prescription drug abuse.

Withdrawal Management

Remember, drugs change the way the brain works. Once someone stops misusing a medication, the body has a strong reaction. The severity and duration of the withdrawal period depend on factors such as which drug was used, the amount, and how frequently it was taken.

Withdrawal management involves the medical and psychological care of withdrawal symptoms. This helps reduce the discomfort felt during the withdrawal period. Withdrawal management alone is not enough to battle prescription drug abuse. Many patients who only complete this step will revert back into drug abuse. This is just the first step which then must be followed with additional therapies to ensure sustained drug abstinence.

Detox

Detox is the process for purging the drugs from the body. This process varies based on the exact drug used, how long it was used, and the severity of the patient’s dependence. For example, detox for opioid abuse usually involves a medication to counteract or relieve withdrawal symptoms which may be severe. 

Since all prescription drugs include withdrawal symptoms and health concerns, patients should not try to detox on their own. Seek professional medical help to overcome an addiction.

Addiction Prevention Therapy

Addiction is a disease. Patients cannot simply stop using drugs and assume they are cured. Professional care is needed for recovery. 

Behavioral therapies can help patients change their attitudes toward drugs and improve healthy life skills. These therapies may be combined with medication or other treatments to help patients stay addiction-free. Therapies include helping patients recognize situations where they are more likely to abuse drugs and using positive reinforcement to promote continued abstinence from drugs.

Addiction Medicine with Hadi Medical Group

The Hadi Medical Group offers addiction medicine to help treat New York patients who overuse or who have become addicted to prescription drugs. We provide comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for addiction problems.

You don’t have to battle addiction alone. For more information on prescription drug abuse in Brooklyn, Hempstead, Plainview, and Long Beach, contact Hadi Medical Group.

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