Make no doubt about it, prescription drugs carry just as much potential for addiction as illicit drugs. They also pose serious risks, side effects and can cause overdose and death. There is a prescription drug abuse epidemic in the U.S. and many people develop addictions to prescription drugs without knowing that this is even possible.
People often underestimate the power or addictive potential of prescription drugs mainly because they are prescribed by doctors and healthcare professionals. Many people assume that because prescription drugs are used for medicinal purpose, they are completely safe to use. However, this is far from the truth.
People fall victim to prescription drug addiction everyday, with both recreational and medicinal intent. Even people who are legitimately prescribed a drug can find themselves addicted if they misuse or abuse the drug. This can mean taking larger doses to overcome tolerance, continuing to use a drug after the expired date, borrowing a friend’s medication on occasion, etc.
The Physical and Psychological Aspect to Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs have mind-altering abilities just like recreational and illicit drugs. They can create feel-good chemicals, or be the “remedy” to someone’s physical or emotional pain. After a few uses, the brain builds a tolerance to these effects and a person feels the need to increase the dosage. This produces more intense effects, and a person can develop both a physical and psychological addiction to the drug.
When prescription drugs are abused or taken long-term, the brain naturally works to account for the drug’s presence. It will halt its own production of authentic chemicals that the drug is synthetically providing. As a result, the brain literally grows to depend or rely on a drug to maintain a certain chemical balance. When this balance is off, or when the drug is no longer being used, the body will react with what is known as withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the type of prescription drug is being used, but can be anything from nausea to seizures. This is one reason why prescription drugs are so addictive. Individuals have used a certain substance for so long that their body literally depends on the drug to function and feel normal. The body is chemically dependent upon the drug to function.
Another reason why prescription drugs are so addictive is the psychological aspect of addiction. When people feel like they have to continue using a prescription even if they no longer want to in order to keep withdrawal symptoms away, they can quickly develop a psychological addiction to a drug as well. Addiction changes the brain and addicts obsess over their addictive drug, thinking about how they will get more, how they will pay for it, how they will achieve a greater high or the result they are looking for, etc. This psychological dependence on the drug can make recovery even more difficult for many addicts.
Need Treatment for a Prescription Drug Addiction?
Do you need to find treatment help for an addiction to prescription drugs? If so, we can help. Our toll-free helpline is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by trained addiction counselors who can assist you with your questions, concerns, and need for information. If you are ready, we can help find and connect you with the addiction treatment options that are right for you and your unique recovery needs. Any drug addiction, whether it be illicit or prescription, is dangerous, so do not hesitate getting help.