Link Between Prescription Drugs and Substance Abuse

Typically, when we consider drug addiction, we picture illegal substances. However, the number of people who become addicted to prescription drugs is rising globally. You may be here because you or someone you care about is having trouble controlling their use of prescription drugs.
In this article, we go over the basics of prescription medication addiction, including its definition, symptoms, risk factors, and first steps towards recovery. South Africa is home to a burgeoning population of recovering addicts, counsellors, and specialists, making it an excellent setting for alcohol rehabilitation centresGet in touch with us for more information on our long term rehab centre.

Understanding prescription drug addiction

Legal opiates and benzodiazepines, for example, are highly addictive and can lead to drug abuse. These pharmaceuticals modify the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for a state of relaxation in the brain.
Opiates block GABA and cause the release of dopamine, whereas benzodiazepines create GABA. These two neurotransmitters both contribute to an increase in happiness.
When you take more of these drugs than is recommended, your brain and body will develop a dependence on the calming effects of GABA and the rewarding effects of dopamine. This is the root source of the problem of people abusing prescription drugs, which can lead to addiction.

The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Substance Abuse
The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Substance Abuse
The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Substance Abuse

Benzo prescriptions

Insomnia, seizures, and anxiety are only some of the disorders for which benzodiazepines are prescribed, but the addictive quality of GABA production makes them tempting for abuse. That’s why it’s so important to know how to spot an addiction of benzos.

Opiate prescriptions

Although opioids are designed to alleviate pain, their misuse can lead to an increase in dopamine’s pleasurable effects. It is crucial to recognise the warning signs of an opiate addiction and get help without delay.

Sleeping pill prescriptions

Sleeping medications have their benefits for persons with sleep difficulties but also carry real risks for addiction when misused.

Recognizing prescription drug abuse

There are many parallels between substance addiction disorders caused by the misuse of legal or illegal drugs, legal or illegal prescription medications, or other substances:
·         The individual’s use pattern is incongruous with the prescribed use i.e they are taking more than they are prescribed.
·         Substantial impairment in one or more areas of functioning and/or severe distress in daily life are direct results of drug use.
·         The individual is plagued by persistent desires to take the substance.
·         As drug use becomes more prioritised, the individual begins to neglect their former interests.
·         As a result of their drug usage, the individual is unable to keep vital personal commitments.
·         Addiction occurs when someone keeps using drugs despite experiencing negative effects on their mental or physical health.
·         It’s common for the person to take more of the drug than intended, or to take it for longer than planned.
·         Drug usage persists despite serious adverse consequences for the user.
·         Use, recovery, and attempts to obtain the substance consume a considerable portion of the person’s time.
·         The individual has expressed a wish to reduce or cease drug use, yet their drug use has remained constant or increased.
·         The individual routinely consumes the chemical in high-risk settings.
·         A tolerance to the medication has developed.
·         When a person stops using a substance or significantly reduces their usage, withdrawal symptoms arise.

Important points related to prescription drug abuse

Addiction to prescription drugs can be just as severe as that of illegal drugs

Abusing any substance, from as mild as paracetamol to as powerful as opiates, can have devastating effects on your mind and body over time. Abuse of prescription drugs can cause severe physical and mental health problems, including dementia, organ failure, heart failure, breathing problems, and even death.

The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Substance Abuse
The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Substance Abuse

Not all prescription drugs are risky

It’s not recommended to suddenly stop taking your medication due to the fact that there are those who may form addictions to your particular prescription. You significantly reduce your risk of becoming addicted to prescription drugs if you follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medication at the prescribed times. Keep in mind that factors such as genetics, personal history, and environmental context are only a few of many that can lead to a dependence on prescription drugs. Talk to your doctor about the best course of action if you have questions or concerns regarding your medication, including your dosage or any modifications your prescription may require.

It can be easier to hide a prescription drug addiction

Legal and more easily accessible, prescription medications are distinct from their illegal counterparts. Abuse of prescribed medications can go undetected more easily than usage of illegal substances.
As a result, those who are addicted to prescription drugs may brush off your concerns as unfounded. Mood swings or forgotten medication, for instance, could be written off as part of their “normal” routine. If you notice a concerning pattern in their behaviour, however, you may always help them get professional help.

Prescription drug addiction can be difficult to understand

Some people’s understanding of prescription medication addiction is hindered by long-held social stigmas associated with drug abuse.
Unfortunately, similar to alcohol, the legal status of these drugs might lead some people to misjudge their risk and support a loved one’s addiction.

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