Thousands of people lose their lives each year to the effects of prescription drug abuse. Some statistics indicate over 100 people each day die from the effects of overdose or medical conditions related to prescription drug misuse and abuse. In recent years, there has been an overwhelming increase in rates of prescription drug abuse leading numerous federal and state government regulatory agencies to declare drugs from these categories an “epidemic problem.” It is believed as many as eighteen million people struggle with an addiction to prescription drugs that could benefit from comprehensive addiction treatment at Concise Recovery.  

What Are Prescription Pills? 

Prescription pills (or prescription painkillers) are strong medications often used to treat symptoms related to chronic pain, injury,  post-surgical recovery, and various mental health conditions. Three categories of prescription pills are commonly abused. These include opioids used for pain relief (such as Vicodin, Codeine, or OxyContin), depressants used to address anxiety and sleep-related problems (including Valium or Xanax), and stimulants used for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (like Adderall and Ritalin). 

Why Are Prescription Pills Addictive? 

When used as prescribed, prescription pills are highly effective and beneficial to the person using them. However, when misused (used by someone other than the patient or incorrectly), they can be dangerous and highly addictive. Many people believe because a medical or mental health provider prescribes a medication, that it is “safe.” In most situations, this is a safe assumption; however, when someone abused prescription pills, the risk for addiction and other severe physical and psychological health consequences increases dramatically. Prescription opioids, stimulants, and depressants are often used as part of a treatment plan for an extended duration, and therefore, the chance of developing a tolerance increases dramatically. Once tolerance develops, increased or more frequent doses are required to obtain the same feeling or “high” once achieved at lower doses. When you develop a tolerance, you are at increased risk for addiction and potential overdose. 

Prescription pills impact the function of the brain and various body systems. They change how the reward system functions, making it harder to “feel good” without taking the drug. Eventually, it becomes difficult, even impossible, to feel the same effects felt at the initial dose. To accommodate intense cravings for the effects of the drug, someone who is addicted to prescription pills will take larger and larger amounts to feel the same “high” or sense of relief. Once drug use is stopped, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms often occur. 

The Prescription Pill Abuse Symptoms to Look Out For

The signs and symptoms of pill abuse will depend on the type of drug one is addicted to. Although the over effects will exist across various kinds of medications, the specific impacts will depend on the drug itself and the dose. Some of the most common physical and behavioral symptoms to look out for could include:

  • New or worsening mental health conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, and psychosis. 
  • Changes in behavior such as increased isolation.
  • New or worsening legal troubles and financial struggles.
  • Changes in mood or frequent (sometimes aggressive) mood swings.
  • Physical symptoms including stomach issues, changes to breathing patterns, changes in heart rate, increased tolerance, speech changes, skin sores, and lesions

Regular use of prescription drugs can cause your body to develop a tolerance to and craving for their effects, leading to physical and emotional dependence. When someone is dependent on a substance and chooses to reduce or stop using, painful and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can develop. With opioids and stimulants, withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be dangerous or fatal. The more severe withdrawal symptoms make choosing to overcome an addiction to prescription pills in a medically assisted detox program essential to your health and safety. 

Contact Concise Recovery Today

The journey to sobriety and recovery is best taken with the help and support of the staff at a comprehensive addiction treatment program at Concise Recovery. If you or a loved one are ready to seek treatment for prescription drug addiction, don’t wait another day. Contact our admissions team to learn more about how a prescription drug addiction treatment program can help you start your journey to sobriety.