Addiction Solution Source

Prescription Drug Abuse

May 5th, 2007 · No Comments

According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse research report, there are three classes of prescription drugs that are most commonly abused:

1- opioids, which are most often prescribed to treat pain – examples include: codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet), and morphine (Kadian and Avinza);

2- central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders – examples include: barbiturates (Mebaral and Nembutal) and benzodiazepines (Valium and Xanax);

3- stimulants, which are prescribed to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obesity – examples include: dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine and Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta).

Many people benefit from the appropriate use of prescription pain killers, but, when abused, they can be as addictive and dangerous as illegal drugs. Prescription drugs should only be taken exactly as directed by a medical professional.

The Synthetic Drug Control Strategy addresses the extent of and problems associated with prescription drug abuse. Prescription drugs account for the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs.

Health Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

The health risks associated with prescription drug abuse vary depending on the drug. For example, abuse of opioids, narcotics and pain relievers can slow or stop breathing. The abuse of depressants, including benzodiazepines and other tranquilizers, barbiturates and other sedatives, can result in seizure, respiratory depression and decreased heart rate. Stimulant abuse can lead to high body temperature, irregular heart rate, cardiovascular system failure and seizure. Inappropriate use of prescription drugs, including use without a prescription or medical supervision, or using in a manner other than exactly as prescribed, can lead to addiction in some cases.

Drug Treatment

There is no single type of addiction treatment which is appropriate for individuals addicted to prescription drugs. Treatment options must take into account the specific type of drug used along with the needs of the individual.

Several options are available for effectively treating addiction to prescription opioids and are drawn from research regarding the treatment of heroin addiction. In some instances, medications, such as naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine may be necessary on a short term basis to ease withdrawal symptoms.

Patients addicted to barbiturates or benzodiazepines should not attempt to stop taking the drugs on their own, as withdrawal from these drugs can be problematic, and in the case of certain CNS depressants, potentially life-threatening. Patients addicted to these medications should undergo medically supervised detoxification because the treatment dose must be gradually tapered.

Depending on the patient’s situation, the first steps in treating prescription stimulant addiction may be tapering off the drug’s dose and attempting to treat withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification process could then be followed by nutrition counseling and one of many behavioral therapies.

In all cases, patients should seek out treatment under the guidance of a doctor that has a “holistic” approach that is designed to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of substance abuse.

See: Drug Recovery Programs


Tags: Drug Addiction Alternative Treatment · Prescription Drugs Addiction

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