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Recognizing Prescription Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is the largest growing drug epidemic. In 2013, the center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 48,982 drug overdoses, half of which were from prescription drug abuse. Prescription drugs have become much easier to obtain over the years and their impact on society has grown at an alarming rate. So how does one counter this fast growing issue?

One learns to identify it and learns how and where to get help.

What is addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease that’s characterized by impulsively engaging in an action that yields a rewarding result, regardless of the consequences that may come from it. Regarding drug addiction, an addict is a person who continually and impulsively abuses prescription drugs, despite what they may lose and who they might hurt to keep up their habit. Addiction affects one in 10 (23.5 million) Americans on a daily basis, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

What are commonly abused pharmaceuticals?

Opioids are the most commonly abused substance within the category of prescription drugs. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, they account for three out of four prescription drug overdoses in the United States. Some common opioids that are abused include OxyContin, Vicodin, Fentanyl, Opana and Dilaudid. Some symptoms associated with opioid addiction include:

  1. Excessive fatigue or “nodding” out
  2. Excessive itching
  3. Constricted or pinned-out pupils
  4. Dramatic weight loss
  5. Profuse sweating
  6. Slurred speech
  7. Pale skin
  8. Little to no appetite

Benzodiazepines are the second highest abused category of prescription drugs, accounting for 30 percent of all prescription drug overdoses. They act as central nervous system depressants and are used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders.

Some common benzodiazepines include Xanax, Klonopin and Valium. Some common signs of benzodiazepine addiction include:

  1. Poor coordination
  2. Unusual sleeping habits
  3. Amnesia
  4. Drowsiness
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Appearance of dementia
  7. Irritability
  8. Hostility

Prescription stimulants are used to treat behavioral disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They make the user feel more awake, alert and mimic euphoric characteristics of their illegal counterpart, methamphetamines. They are the most prevalently abused among college students and allow students to study for prolonged periods of time. Many users simply use it just for recreational purposes. Commonly prescribed stimulants include Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin. Some common signs of prescription stimulant abuse include:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Restlessness
  3. Rapid or rambling speech
  4. Dramatic weight loss
  5. Aggression
  6. Little to no appetite

Recognizing and acknowledging there is prescription drug abuse is the first step in the recovery process and it’s imperative for friends and family of addicts to refrain from judgment when approaching a loved one about getting help. It has shown to be most effective to make it known to the addict that the concern is coming from a place of love when proposing the idea of prescription drug addiction treatment.

Finding help

Prescription drug addiction is a life-long battle that one must treat on a daily basis. Even after detox and treatment are over, there are many steps an individual must take along the way to prevent themselves from falling back into old behavior. Millions have found recovery from prescription drug addiction in 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Both programs are free of dues or fees and accept all who have a desire to stop drinking and using drugs. They hold meetings daily in all 50 states and across the world.

The Florida Prescription Drug Addiction Helpline is a free resource for those seeking prescription drug addiction treatment. If know someone who is struggling with prescription drug addiction and is in need of treatment, please contact us at 866-292-3211. A representative will assist you in finding the right treatment center for you in your area.

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