Prescription drugs that are abused or used for non-medical reasons can alter brain activity and lead to dependence.
Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (often prescribed to treat pain), central nervous system depressants (often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants(prescribed to treat narcolepsy, ADHD, and obesity).
Commonly used opioids include oxycodone (OxyContin), propoxyphene(Darvon), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), and diphenoxylate (Lomotil).
Common central nervous system depressants include barbiturates such as pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), and benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax).
Stimulants include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methylphenidate (Ritalin).
Long-term use of opioids or central nervous system depressants can lead to physical dependence and prescription drug addiction.
Taken in high doses, stimulants can lead to compulsive use, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, and irregular heartbeat.
ABUSE OF PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS
The abuse of prescription medication is a serious public health concern.
Prescription medications such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives are very useful treatment tools but sometimes people do not take them as directed and can become addicted(chemically dependent).
OPIATE – Prescription Drugs
Chronic use of opiate pills can result in tolerance to the medications so that higher doses must be taken to obtain the same initial effects.
Long-term use also can lead to physical dependence, the body adapts to the presence of the substance and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced abruptly.
Individuals taking prescribed opioids medications should not only be given these medications under appropriate medical supervision, but also should be medically supervised when stopping use in order to reduce or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of withdrawal can include;
- muscle and bone pain
- cold flashes with goose bumps
Opioids drugs, such as oxycodone, work primarily through their interaction with the opioid receptors, especially in the brain and spinal cord.
Also, opioids like oxycodone have similarities to virtually every other drug of abuse, including nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, in that they elevate levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain pathways that control the experience of pleasure.
STIMULATE – Prescription Drugs
Stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy, which are accompanied by increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.
Historically, stimulants were used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments.
Today, stimulants are prescribed for treating only a few health conditions, including narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression that has not responded to other treatments.
Stimulants may also be used for short-term treatment of obesity and for patients with asthma. The consequences of stimulant abuse can be extremely dangerous.
Taking high doses of a stimulant can result in an irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperatures, and/or the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures.
Taking high doses of some stimulants repeatedly over a short period of time can lead to hostility or feelings of paranoia in some individuals.
Stimulants should not be mixed with antidepressants or over-the-counter cold medicines containing decongestants.
Antidepressants may enhance the effects of a stimulant, and stimulants in combination with decongestants may cause blood pressure to become dangerously high or lead to irregular heart rhythms.
DEPRESSANT – Prescription Drugs
Despite their many beneficial effects, barbiturates and benzodiazepines have the potential for abuse. If one uses these drugs long term, the body will develop tolerance for the drugs, and larger doses will be needed to achieve the same initial effects.
In addition, continued use can lead to physical dependence – and when use is reduced or stopped – withdrawal can happen.
Because all depressants work by slowing the brain’s activity, when an individual stops taking them, the brain’s activity can rebound and race out of control, possibly leading to seizures and other harmful consequences.
Although withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be problematic, it is rarely life threatening.
Anyone who is thinking about discontinuing depressant therapy or who is suffering withdrawal from a depressant should speak with a physician or seek medical treatment.
Prolonged use of these drugs eventually changes the brain in fundamental and long-lasting ways, explaining why people cannot just quit on their own, and why treatment is essential.
Going to a treatment center may be a road you or a loved one will need to take to get better. Going to a rehab in Florida, Arizona, Utah or even Colorado will help you learn valuable steps to stay sober.
OXYCONTIN – Prescription Drugs
Oxycontin is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for drug addiction and is only available by prescription from a licensed physician. Oxycontin contains oxycodone, a very strong narcotic pain reliever similar to morphine. Oxycontin is designed so that the oxycodone is slowly released over time.
Oxycontin when used for legitimate medical purposes, this controlled substance can improve the quality of life for millions of Americans with debilitating diseases and conditions. It is often prescribed for cancer patients or those with chronic, long-lasting pain.
Taking Oxycontin daily can result in physical dependence, a condition in which the body shows signs of narcotic withdrawal if the Oxycontin is stopped suddenly.
This is not the same as addiction, which represents a situation in which people obtain and take narcotics because of a psychological need, and not just to treat a legitimate painful condition.
PERCOCET – Prescription Drugs
Percocet is considered an opiate and contains oxycodone, a very strong narcotic pain reliever similar to morphine. Percocet is designed so that the oxycodone is slowly released over time.
Taking Percocet daily can result in physical dependence, a condition in which the body shows signs of narcotic withdrawal if the drug is stopped suddenly. Physical dependence can be treated by slowly decreasing the dose when it is no longer needed for pain.
VICODIN – Prescription Drugs
Vicodin is an opioid, commonly prescribed because of their effective analgesic, or pain relieving properties. Chronic use of vicodin can result in tolerance to the medications so that higher doses must be taken to obtain the same initial effects. Long-term use also can lead to physical dependence.
Symptoms of Vicodin Withdrawal Can Include;
restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, and involuntary leg movements.
Individuals who become addicted to vicodin can be treated. Options for effectively treating vicodin addiction are drawn from research on treating heroin addiction.
XANAX – Prescription Drugs
Xanax is a benzodiazepine which causes relaxation. It is categorized as a CNS depressant. CNS depressants slow normal brain function. In higher doses, some CNS depressants can become general anesthetics. Tranquilizers and sedatives are examples of CNS depressants.
Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (xanax), which can be prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks. Someone who is thinking about discontinuing Xanax therapy or who is suffering withdrawal from a CNS depressant should speak with a physician or seek medical treatment. AMBIEN – Prescription Drugs
Ambien induces sleep and causes relaxation. It is used to treat sleep disorders such as trouble falling asleep, waking up many times during the night, or waking up too early in the morning.
Ambien is classified as a CNS depressant. CNS depressants slow normal brain function. In higher doses, some CNS depressants can become general anesthetics. Tranquilizers and sedatives are examples of CNS depressants.
As drugs are eliminated from your body — a process called detoxification — your system has to readjust. In the early or acute stage of withdrawal, you may experience certain withdrawal symptoms.