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Dangers of Prescription Pill Addiction

Drug Detox , Drug Rehab Alexa Iocco | February 23, 2022

Dangers of Prescription Pill Addiction Resurgence Behavioral Health

What Causes Prescription Pill Abuse?

Misuse of prescription drugs is defined as the act of using prescription medications in ways that are not prescribed to be used. Abusing medications can change the way your brain works, affecting self-control and decision making, to the point where you begin to experience drug cravings and physical dependence on these substances. For those struggling with such dependencies, seeking assistance from facilities like Costa Mesa prescription drug rehab can offer tailored treatments and support.

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Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Some actions that count as prescription pill abuse include:

  • Taking prescriptions that are meant for somebody else to use
  • Using more of the medication than you were prescribed at one time
  • Using the medication more often than you were prescribed by your doctor
  • Mixing your prescription drugs with alcohol, drugs, and other substances
  • Using the medication in ways not prescribed by your doctor, like crushing tablets to snort

You may be wondering what causes prescription pill abuse. There are many reasons, as each person is different, with different life experiences and physiological factors. That being said, some common reasons a person may begin to abuse their prescription medication include:

  • The influence of social groups or friends
  • Mental health issues or mental declines, like dementia or memory loss
  • Lack of knowledge about prescription drugs and their effects
  • Rushed doctor’s visits and lack of medical oversight and check-ins
  • Feeling lost, stressed out, lonely,
  • Looking for relief from chronic pain or insomnia

Prescription pill addiction treatment is available for those who need it at Resurgence Behavioral Health. We not only treat the addiction but through our detox center and our holistic, integrated program that includes comprehensive inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment, we address these underlying issues to give you the best possible chance of long-term addiction recovery.

Commonly Abused Prescription Medications

There are three classes of prescription drugs that are most often abused:

Opioids (codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc.)

Prescription opioids are often given for long-term pain management and can increase a person’s quality of life when used under a doctor’s strict care. The issue with opioids is that they are highly addictive, even if used as prescribed, and dependence on these medications can happen gradually and even accidentally.

Even if you use the correct, prescribed amount, over time your brain will begin to depend on the opioid drugs to produce “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine, and you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back or quit, causing you to feel the need to use more of the drug just to achieve a level of normalcy.

There is also a high risk of opioid overdose, especially if used along with other drugs that may relax your body or slow your breathing, including alcohol. Stopping opioid use is safest when done in a medically assisted detox facility, followed by an integrated addiction treatment program that incorporates therapy, education, and relapse prevention skills.

Central Nervous System Depressants like benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.) and barbiturates (Luminal, Amytal, Seconal, Nembutal, etc.)

Benzodiazepines and other CNS depressants are usually prescribed to help with anxiety, panic, and sleep issues, or even anesthesia and seizure treatment, as they produce a calming, quietening sensation by affecting the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in your brain, lowering brain activity and depressing the central nervous system.

It does not take long for a tolerance to develop with these commonly abused substances as the brain stops producing GABA on its own, requiring you to take more to achieve the same effect. Abuse of these substances may lead to overdose as taking too much or mixing them with alcohol or other substances can slow your heartbeat, breath, and lead to brain damage, coma, and death.

It is not recommended to stop taking these medications “cold turkey”, as a sudden stoppage can cause seizures and other life-threatening problems. A medical detox, with 24-hour care, is the most effective place to slowly taper off these medications while remaining safe.

Stimulants (Dexedrine, Concerta, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Adderall, etc.)

Stimulants are the type of medications that give you feelings of being alert, energetic, and attentive. Your heart rate and blood sugar may rise when you take these drugs, and can also open your airways. These medications are used to treat anything from asthma to ADHD and ADD, depression, and narcolepsy. Misuse of these medications can result in high blood pressure, heart problems, raise your body temperature, and cause many adverse health issues.

Addiction to stimulants is best treated in a medically supervised setting, to ensure you remain safe and no medical emergencies occur. You may be prescribed short-term prescriptions to helping you remain comfortable and to be able to rest properly as your body detoxes and recalibrates itself. Moving into an inpatient or outpatient prescription drug rehab program is then strongly recommended for a better chance at long-term sobriety.

Signs of Prescription Pill Addiction

Some of the most common signs of an addiction to prescription pills include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness/poor coordination or unexplained bruises
  • Withdrawal from support like family and friends, wanting to be alone, losing touch with loved ones
  • Mood swings, nervousness, agitation, paranoia
  • Headache
  • Memory problems, becoming forgetful or confused
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Poor judgment
  • Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia or sleeping more than normal
  • Changes in eating habits, with weight loss or weight gain
  • Lacking interest in hobbies or other normal activities
  • Talking about the medication often, taking the medication at odd times, acting defensive about their use
  • Storing the medication around the house, on their person, or sneaking/hiding the medication
  • Being unable to stop using the medication or even cut back without withdrawal symptoms
  • Continuing to abuse the medication even when it becomes a problem at home, work, or financially
  • Needing to take more or having a higher tolerance to the drug to get the same effect

Risks of Abusing Prescription Pills

There are many risks involved when a person abuses prescription pills. There is a risk of overdosing, and there are numerous associated health effects if you take too much of a medication, mix it with other substances, or use the medication in ways that are not doctor prescribed.

  • CNS depressants can slow your breathing and heart rate to dangerous levels
  • Opioids can cause breathing problems, vomiting, coma, and death
  • Stimulants can cause uneven heartbeats, paranoia, aggression, and seizures
  • Addiction is caused by drug abuse
  • The best methods to remain safe when taking prescription pills include:
  • Learning what will happen if you mix the medication with alcohol or other substances, including over-the-counter medications, antidepressants, asthma medications, and sleeping pills. Some medications even have adverse reactions to food.
  • Be honest with your treatment providers, especially if you have a history of substance abuse, alcohol addiction, or opiate addiction
  • Do not allow others to use your medications
  • Always follow the directions exactly as given, and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand something
  • Do not change your dosage or stop taking the medication without speaking with your doctor about it first
  • Do not crush or cut a pill, especially if they are time-release capsules

Rehab Treatment for Prescription Pill Abuse

There are safe and effective rehab treatment centers for prescription pill abuse, and at Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer a medically assisted treatment (MAT) drug treatment program in our detox center to help you detox from the medication safely and effectively, without needing to suffer through uncomfortable and unsafe withdrawal symptoms. Depending on your level of addiction and which drug(s) you are detoxing from, this may include prescription medications like:

  • Buprenorphine to treat opiate withdrawal and dependence
  • Naloxone to reverse the effects of opioid drugs on the opioid receptors in the body
  • Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone
  • Methadone to help wean off opioid drugs
  • Clonidine is a blood pressure medication
  • Naltrexone to block the effects of opiates to prevent relapse

Combining medications with counseling, therapy, medical care, and educational programs, our team of professional and empathetic staff members will ensure you are comfortable and safe as your body detoxes, and you move into a 30- to a 90-day inpatient rehab program.

Resurgence Behavioral Health Drug Rehab

Prescription drug addiction is a serious health issue, and at Resurgence’s treatment facility, we will treat you with respect and care as you utilize our full continuum of treatment programs, from detox, through inpatient and outpatient rehab, and on into our aftercare programs. Some of the types of treatment we offer are:

  • Comfortable and safe medical detox and drug addiction treatment with medication assisted treatment
  • 30-to-90-day inpatient prescription pill addiction treatment
  • Dual diagnosis programs to treat PTSD and co-occurring mental health issues
  • Nutrition and exercise treatment plan
  • Life skills coaching and vocational skills training
  • Multiple types of therapy that include cognitive behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, group therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, individual therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy program, and family therapy
  • Educational programs
  • 12-Step and SMART recovery programs
  • Partial hospitalization outpatient treatment program
  • Intensive outpatient programs that are flexible and customizable
  • Aftercare programs that can last a lifetime
  • Referrals to trusted sober living homes and community housing in your area
  • Alumni program, with meetups and other sober community gatherings

If you believe you may be in need of a fresh start recovery, with help to stop abusing prescription medications, but do not know where to start, call us today. We can help you figure out your best course of action in prescription drug rehab, and through our behavioral treatments, dual diagnosis treatments for co-occurring disorders, and other types of treatment we offer, you can stop depending on these drugs, regain control over your life, and gain the recovery skills you need to resist relapsing in the future.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Does your Insurance Cover Rehab?

At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.