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Prescription Pill Abuse

What happens when a person becomes addicted to prescription drugs?


There are several different types of commonly abused prescription drugs:

  • Benzodiazepines. This class of drugs includes anti-anxiety and anti-seizure medications, such as Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax. Benzodiazepines are depressants and induce feelings of well-being and drowsiness. Benzodiazepines and alcohol make an especially addictive (and dangerous) combination.
  • Barbiturates. Barbiturates are used for sedation or to treat headaches and insomnia. They include medications such as Amytal and Nembutal. Barbiturates are potent depressants and can have adverse (even fatal) effects if used in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
  • Opioids. Opioids are pain relievers derived from opium. Some are natural derivatives, like morphine, and others are synthetic, like oxycodone (OxyContin). Opioids mimic the effects of the neurotransmitter endorphin, inducing feelings of pleasure, euphoria, and drowsiness. Abuse of opioid drugs has resulted in an increase in overdose deaths: nearly 47,000 Americans died of an opioid-related overdose in 2018.
  • Sleep medications. Drugs like Ambien and Lunesta may be abused for their sedation effect. Individuals with sleep problems may develop a dependence on these medications, fearing they will experience insomnia or restlessness without them.
  • Amphetamines. Amphetamines are stimulant drugs used to increase focus and alertness. This includes medications for ADHD, such as Adderall and Ritalin. While those who have ADHD tend to experience a calming effect when taking these drugs, others experience heightened stimulation and energy, making these medications prone to abuse.

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What Causes Prescription Drug Addiction?

No one sets out to become an addict. Most people who become addicted to prescription drugs start taking them for a specific medical reason. Over time, individuals may become dependent on their medications for certain effects (such as pain relief or the ability to sleep). Because our bodies become tolerant to the potency of certain medications over a period of time, these individuals may end up taking higher doses to experience the same effects. This can easily lead to addiction, where an individual feels compelled to take more of the drug in order to feel normal (or to prevent being in pain). The intense discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, which can set in within a short period after the effects of the drug wear off, drives this need. Prescription drugs are still drugs: The fact that they came from a doctor doesn’t necessarily make them safe.

Those who take prescription drugs for nonmedical or recreational reasons are typically using them to suppress physical, emotional, or psychological pain. They take drugs as a solution, not because they want more problems. But inevitably, prescription drug abuse causes many of its own problems. Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol can be especially addictive, causing a strong chemical imbalance within the body and brain. In the long-term, prescription drug addiction can result in major health issues and increases the potential for suicidal thinking or accidental death from an overdose.

Common Prescription Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Depending on the prescription drugs an individual has been abusing, withdrawal symptoms may vary.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Yawning
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Muscle twitching
  • Hypersensitivity to pain
Withdrawal symptoms from sedative drugs (including benzodiazepines, sleep medications, and barbiturates) include:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increased appetite
  • Aches and pains
  • Impaired social functioning

Why Go to Residential Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction?

Prescription drug addiction can be serious, damaging a person’s relationships, financial stability, and physical health. The emotional and mental health complications can also impair an individual’s ability to lead a functional life. Residential treatment is an excellent option for those suffering from prescription drug addiction for many reasons, such as the following:

  • Individuals have an opportunity to leave home, escaping the triggers of drug use and entering an atmosphere of healing and reflection.
  • Treatment professionals monitor clients on an ongoing basis, helping them stay safe and discover the path to a new life.
  • Those in treatment are able to connect with peers who are on the same journey, relating to each other’s struggles and encouraging one another in the recovery process.
  • Residential treatment offers both a “reset” and rehabilitation, helping individuals develop new, healthier coping skills as they depart from patterns of drug use.

Residential treatment offers a mix of therapies, from individual and group therapy to experiential therapies (such as art, music, or yoga therapy), allowing clients to engage in mind, body, and spirit healing.

How to Know When It’s Time to Seek Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

How do you know when it’s time to seek treatment for prescription drug addiction? If you’ve tried to quit misusing prescription drugs and have begun to experience withdrawal symptoms, please contact our team today. If your condition is severe, it’s important to be monitored and cared for by physicians who can ensure that you get through detox safely. At BeWell Recovery, we want to help you find the right treatment options so that you can heal from addiction — physically, mentally, and emotionally for the long-term.

Get Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment through BeWell Recovery

BeWell Recovery is a family of evidence-based residential and outpatient treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is seeking help for alcohol addiction, please call (866) 317-8395 or get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed specially for you.

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