Why are Prescription Drugs so Addictive?
How do you get addicted to prescription drugs?
Pharmaceutical companies were once considered miracle workers as they seemed to develop these pills that help your pain, depression, anxiety, and illness go away with a daily regimen scribed on a little orange bottle.
Nowadays, those companies are frowned at with skepticism as the pills that they are creating have a long list of side effects that sound worse than the ailment you are taking the pill for. For those who see prescription drugs as an answer to their ailment, they are discovering that they are addictive and find themselves depending on their daily regimen to function properly. From painkillers to antidepressants, society has put their lives in the hands of those who prescribe them their daily dose of normal.
It all starts with a visit to your trusted family physician.
The situation differs but the results are the same; you break your leg or maybe you were relaxing on the sofa and saw an ad for an antidepressant that remarkably describes your sudden change in mood.
Whatever the scenario, you visit your doctor to seek advice and because you trust him with your life, you fill your prescription with your local pharmacy and begin to follow the instructions on the bottle. This is where the addiction begins.
For an addiction to take hold of your life, you have to take a substance on a regular basis until your body becomes familiar with the drug ingested. Once your body becomes dependent of the substance, it is easy to slip into an addiction when it comes to prescription pills.
Why are prescription drugs so addictive?
Prescriptions pills are addictive because you trust in them to solve a problem. The fact that you get a prescription from the doctor and not a shabby looking character in a back alley behind the bar gives you a false comfort in taking the medication.
The instructions on the bottle are also misleading because some medications have you take a set amount each day for X amount of days. This regular schedule of ingestion is the tragic beginning to an addiction. Even the fact that refills are written on the bottle comforts you with the knowledge that you will get more if you want more. The other way around also applies; if you know you will not get anymore refills, you may decide to convince your doctor to give you more because you want more. Of course, the way the medication makes you feel definitely plays a huge factor in why prescription pills are so addictive.
Painkillers are one of the most abused prescription pills across the nation as those who become addicted to opiate derived pain pills tend to move on to street drugs to keep up with their addiction.
There are 4.3 million people addicted to prescription pills in the United States alone. None of these people had dreams and aspiration in becoming addicted to pain pills but sure enough, their addiction is real.
It is too easy to become addicted to pain pills as pain is the one single feeling no one wants to tolerate. So when your doctor asked you, between 1 to 10, what is the level of pain you are in, more people are likely to rate their pain higher than what they are feeling.
So if you’re a soccer mom who has broken her leg and the doctor gives you a medication like oxycodone or a medication with opium in it, the pain you experience will vanish within 20 minutes of ingestion. You may feel a sense of euphoria being free from pain and really enjoy the feeling the medication does to your body.
As recommended on the bottle, you decide to take 1 or 2 every 6 hours while your leg heals from your injury. In your mind you may think nothing of it, but you are now starting to subject yourself to a potential addiction.
To stress the situation further, maybe after a week and a half of being on your pain medication, you realize that you may have pushed yourself a little too hard with your soccer responsibilities and are in more pain than normal. Instead of taking it easy, you decide to pop another pill to take the edge off and once again that euphoria does wonders for your aching leg.
Fast forward to the end of your prescription. You realize your prescription is finished and at this moment you understand that your leg no longer hurts, but two days after your medication is gone, you start to feel achy, muscles in your healed leg may start to hurt and you feel cranky, and uncomfortable in general. Maybe you convince yourself you may still need more pain pills and schedule a doctor’s visit to get more. Across America this situation is real and many addictions begin with an accident or a surgery that introduces you to the addictive properties of painkillers.
Have you or someone you know lost interest in a hobby? Maybe you feel sad or alone? Do you experience anxiety attacks when your depression is at its peak? Or maybe things just don’t feel like they used to. Your doctor has a pill for you!
This may sound familiar and it should. Pharmaceutical companies have been advertising anti-depressants pills for years because everyone wants to be happy, right?
Well, unfortunately those pills can be extremely addictive and tend to stop working once someone develops a tolerance to them. Once a tolerance is developed, the person taking the recommended dose will slip back into a depression similar or worse than before. Thus, influencing you to increase your dosage or suffer a worse depression than before. 88,965 people visited the ER in 2011 for antidepressant abuse and an annual average of 22,434 people were rushed to the ER for suicide attempts due to antidepressant abuse. For those individuals who were prescribed antidepressants for anxiety attacks, you will be more susceptible to addiction that ever before.
Antidepressants are extremely addictive for anxiety because the bottle instructs the users to take as needed. So anytime someone experiences an anxiety attack they are instructed to take a pill to alleviate the problems anxiety attacks may cause.
How to overcome your prescription drug addiction and the dark road of addiction if you don’t
Again, no one intends to become addicted to prescription pills and the method of obtaining these pills has nothing to do with cooking it over an open flame or dealing with a creepy drug dealer to get your hands on it, but it does happen and 4 million people understand the struggle once it does. There are ways of overcoming your new found addiction without having to go down the hard road addiction can lead you, but you have to be honest.
Honesty in Communication
Your doctor, more specifically the doctor that prescribed the medication in the first place, can save your life, you just have to be honest. When you start to abuse prescription pills, you tend to develop the need to be dishonest. How many you are taking a day, mixing the doses with alcohol, or whether you have been to multiple doctors to obtain more prescriptions; those who abuse medications tend to lie about these key things that lead to their addiction.
By talking to your doctor about these activities you will save yourself a lifetime of suffering. Your doctor will not throw you in jail or call the cops on you! Your doctor will begin to develop a treatment plan to help you kick your addiction and being honest will help him determine if a medical detox is necessary.
By being honest with your doctor, you will save yourself from the tragedy of addiction and get the life you once valued back.
From Oxy’s to Black Tar Heroin
A warning to the wise, if you do not talk to your doctor about the growing addiction to painkillers you may find yourself staring at a dirty syringe full of black tar heroin. Many people who are addicted to painkillers and no longer can get a prescription for them turn to street drugs, like heroin, to satisfy their needs. The withdrawals from their medication send them to the streets searching for a fix that is filled with impurities just to feel normal again. Four million people understand how quickly their addiction happened and how quickly it can get out of their control.
Please don’t become a statistic and get the help you need before it is too late. Check out Dr. Dan’s video on prescription pill addiction to get a psychologists perspective on the matter.
Please comment, like, shout, or share below. I want to hear your experience or point of view on prescription drugs because I think your experience matters, not just for myself but to those out there on the cusp of addiction.