There are many Prescription Drugs that are regularly abused and very easy to become addicted to. Some types of Prescription Drugs that people frequently develop addictions to are Opioids—Percocet for example, Amphetamines—like Adderall, and Benzodiazepines—like Xanax, although there are others such as Barbiturates, Sleeping Pills, and more. Prescription Drugs can be acquired from a doctor and on the black market. Even if you have a prescription from a doctor for a legitimate condition, you are still at risk at becoming addicted. In fact, it is very common for people to develop an addiction to a drug prescribed to them. This can happen when a doctor instructs a patient to take a prescription multiple times a day, for an extended period.
Also, a patient will likely become addicted when a doctor gives a prescription for many more pills than may be needed. Often a doctor will instruct you to take a medication “as needed” which can easily lead to abuse. It is a common misconception that Prescription Drugs are safe because they are used medically; they can be incredibly dangerous if abused.
The effects of Prescription Drugs vary widely, depending on what type of medication is being used. Opioids, medically used to treat pain, typically cause a sense of euphoria as well as fatigue and sleepiness. They are respiratory depressants, meaning that they can cause shallow or slowed breathing, and in some, cases breathing can cease entirely. These drugs affect a person’s cognitive ability and reasoning, often leading to poor choices and dangerous situations. Someone’s motor skills can also be affected so that they feel or appear to be drunk with slurred or slower speech and possibly unsteady footing.
Benzodiazepines are Central Nervous System depressants, that slow down brain activity for various purposes, and can have similar effects to Opioids. Additionally, they can inhibit the formation of memory, detrimentally affecting short and long-term memory, depending on the frequency and persistence of abuse. Benzos also affect coordination heavily and often cause injury due to tripping or falling, especially in people of more advanced age.
Amphetamines are a little different as they are stimulants and are usually prescribed for attention deficit disorders to treat hyper-activity and difficulties in focusing. Their effects can include elevated heart rate, heightened energy or alertness, excessive activity and incessant talking. They also can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, paranoia and aggression.
Sadly, many people can become addicted to Prescription Drugs before they even know what is happening, and then they must face the life and health risks of substance abuse. Some Opioids and Benzos, for example, can create an addiction after just two weeks of regular use. This can even happen to people who follow the instructions of a doctor carefully. People who acquire Prescription Drugs through other means believe, inaccurately, that Prescription Drugs are safer to use than illegal drugs and find themselves addicted. Abuse or long-term use of many of these drugs can cause sever health problems and even death in some cases. Depending on the type of drug, the dangers and specific health consequences vary. Many of these drugs, when abused or after long-term use, can cause heart failure, seizures, psychosis, liver failure and kidney failure.
It is possible to overdose on most Prescription Drugs, which can result in severe brain damage, spinal cord damage as well as death. The less severe risks of drug abuse are still life-changing and scary, some of which may be permanent, such as severe nervous system damage that results in numbness and painful sensations in the extremities. Someone could also develop personality disorders, chronic depression or anxiety, memory problems and more; the list just goes on.
When a someone develops an addiction to Prescription Drugs, they also tend to develop a tolerance to the drug. This means that he or she will need to take more than before to achieve the same effects. Quickly, a physical dependence to the substance is formed in the body as well as a psychological dependence or addiction. Due to these dependences, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms between doses or when the individual ceases to take the drug. These symptoms can be extremely painful, and sometimes life-threatening.
For many Prescription Drugs, the withdrawal symptoms consist of shaking, sweating, fever, aches in muscles and joints, headache, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Withdrawal from some Prescription Drugs may cause delusional or suicidal thoughts and behavior, hallucinations, depression, anxiety and many more conditions.
If you or a loved one may be addicted to any substance, or experiencing any of these symptoms between doses of any drug, you should seek professional help. There are many resources available to individuals who are suffering from addiction that help ensure a full and sustainable recovery.