Prescription drug abuse is a problem that many Americans are struggling with today. Some people believe that taking medication not prescribed to you by a doctor isn't harmful, but it can, in fact, be fatal and is often highly addictive.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), prescription drugs are the third most abused substance following alcohol and marijuana, and about 48 million individuals have abused prescription drugs. The most commonly abused medication include pain relievers, sedatives and stimulants.
Adolescents and the elderly are two age groups that are particularly vulnerable to becoming addicted to prescription drugs. Teenagers typically abuse medication to experience a high, suppress their appetites, reduce stress and to feed an addiction. Many adolescents falsely believe that taking medications without a prescription is not illegal, or that it is safer than using drugs bought elsewhere. However, abusing prescription drugs is illegal and can be just as addictive as other substances. The elderly often take higher dosages than they were prescribed, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Here are some of the symptoms of prescription drug abuse:
- Changes in sleeping habits: Excessive drowsiness can be a symptom of sedative abuse, and insomnia can be the result of stimulant use.
- Dramatic mood swings: Individuals suffering from drug addiction sometimes experience extreme and sudden changes in mood and outlook.
- Poor decision making: If a loved one is displaying unusually destructive behavior and poor decision-making skills, this could be a symptom of substance abuse.
- Searching for prescriptions: People who struggle with prescription drug abuse often go to great lengths to obtain more medication. For instance, they might "lose" prescriptions so that more have to be written, or they'll see multiple doctors to receive more prescriptions.
If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug abuse, don't hesitate to contact Fairwinds Treatment Center. At Fairwinds, our experienced health professionals use Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef's celebrated dual diagnosis method of treatment. With this approach, patients are given not only clinical treatment but also therapeutic counseling to address the underlying psychological pain that often triggers addiction problems in the first place.
At Fairwinds, our goal is to return patients to their families to enjoy long-term recovery and to lead happier, healthier lives. We believe that this result is only possible when patients have confronted the emotional, mental and psychological issues that have been fueling their addictions. Drug abuse is extremely destructive to patients' lives, but with the right professional care and support, individuals can heal and go on to brighter futures.
The earlier you seek treatment, the more effective your recovery will be. Don't be embarrassed about reaching out for help — our medical professionals are trained to support you, not judge.