The misuse of prescription drugs is a critical public health issue in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 18 million people misused prescription drugs — including sedatives, stimulants, tranquilizers and pain relievers — in 2017. As providers write more prescriptions, the public has increased access to these substances. Some people may view prescription drugs as less harmful alternatives to illicit drugs and downplay their addictive qualities. Unfortunately, this can lead to prescription drug misuse and addiction.
Prescription drug misuse happens when an individual uses a prescription drug to get high, takes a larger dose of the drug than prescribed, takes medicine with a different method than prescribed or takes someone else’s prescription medication. It’s crucial to understand the facts about prescription drug misuse and your treatment options in Skokie, Illinois.
There are several categories of commonly misused prescription drugs. Doctors prescribe each drug type for different reasons, and the medications may produce varying effects when misused. The following are prescription drugs that pose a risk for addiction.
Doctors often prescribe opioids for pain relief following surgical procedures or for patients living with chronic conditions. Under typical use, opioids activate the brain regions responsible for feelings of reward and euphoria. These qualities make opioids a dangerous substance for misuse.
Examples of prescription opioids include:
Opioids reduce pain by attaching to and activating opioid receptor proteins in cells. This attachment prevents the receptors from transmitting pain signals. In higher-than-prescribed doses, opioids create a sense of euphoria in the body.
Antidepressants work to combat the chemical imbalances that cause depression. Though different antidepressants vary in how they treat depression, the prescriptions can all create the euphoric feeling of a stimulant when misused.
Examples of prescription antidepressants include:
Many people take antidepressants orally, but people who misuse them may administer them intravenously. Dangerous side effects from abusing prescription antidepressants range from weight loss and insomnia to seizures and delirium.
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants include tranquilizers, sedatives and hypnotics that impede brain activity. Doctors often prescribe these medications to treat sleep and anxiety disorders. CNS depressants fall into the following categories.
Most CNS depressants produce a calming or drowsy effect. With long-term use, an individual may need to take larger doses to feel the same results, which can lead to dependence and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Stimulants work to increase a user’s energy, attention and alertness, while elevating their heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. Providers typically prescribe these medications to treat narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and treatment-resistant depression.
Examples of stimulants include:
Stimulants mimic the body’s natural dopamine and norepinephrine to create a feeling of euphoria. They can also constrict blood vessels, open breathing passages and increase blood glucose. When misused, stimulants may cause psychosis, paranoia, hostility, high body temperature and an irregular heartbeat.
For every 100 people, Illinois medical professionals wrote about 45 opioid prescriptions in 2018. Though this was the lowest opioid prescription rate in Illinois since researchers first gathered the data in 2006, the impact of prescription drug misuse is still devastating. Prescription drug misuse affects nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, including the following.
Though prescription drug misuse can have destructive effects, its impact only increases when mixed with other substance use.
Combining prescription drugs with other substances can worsen the symptoms a user experiences. The risk increases further when users mix prescription medications with alcohol. The following are some of the dangers of mixing alcohol with different prescription drugs.
Despite the consequences and effects of prescription drug misuse, there is hope for those looking to break free. Prescription drug addiction treatment can help you or a loved one transition into long-term sobriety and recover a renewed sense of life.
Recovering from addiction may feel like an expensive or life-altering decision. But overcoming these barriers can provide the transformation and freedom you long for. There are a few simple steps you can take to begin your path to sobriety.
Drugs and addiction can skew the brain in ways that make it difficult for a user to realize they need treatment. If you’re uncertain if you’d benefit from treatment, you can take a self-assessment to establish the scope of your substance use or misuse. It may also be beneficial to examine the ways prescription drug use has impacted your life and your loved ones’ lives. Ask a trusted friend or family member to explain the ways they believe your life could improve if you work through treatment and sobriety.
Keeping motivation throughout treatment can be hard, but it is crucial for reaching and maintaining recovery. When you battle challenging withdrawal symptoms and addiction cravings, motivation can make the difference between giving in and pushing through. Your motivation may come from family members, peers in the treatment program, personal faith or outside support groups. You may also draw motivation from the pros and cons you see in recovery versus continued addiction.
Wherever the motivation comes from, it can be invaluable to your success.
When you know you need help, you or a loved one can begin to research treatment facilities. Look for a few pivotal factors to find an effective treatment center.
Once you’ve decided on a treatment facility, you can begin the admissions process. You may need to complete a variety of intake assessments to help the professionals determine how they can best serve you.
Our new Skokie location is open, and we’re ready to walk with you through our outpatient prescription drug addiction treatment. We focus our efforts on quality treatment that makes a long-term impact. When you choose Gateway Foundation, you have our support for life. Here’s what you can expect when you partner with us in Skokie.
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If you or a loved one are looking to break free from prescription drug addiction, Gateway Foundation is here to help. Our evidence-based treatmentrelies on testing and scientific research to produce life-changing results. As you consider outpatient treatment in Skokie, we’re ready to guide you along the way. We have over 50 years of experience with positive outcomes for patients seeking freedom and a new life after prescription drug addiction. For more information about our treatment options, contact us today.