Prescription drug abuse
With the legalization of cannabis on the increase it is now prescription drugs rather than tik, cocaine or heroin that is most used illicitly.
Most people take medicines only in the manner in which their doctors prescribe them. However a significant amount of people are predisposed to become addicted when they start to abuse prescription drugs after a legitimate prescription was written for them by their doctor. The prescription may have been written due to chronic pain, injury, surgery or depression.
Pain killers, sleeping tablets and anti-anxiety medications are all highly addictive and easily available on prescription.
Morphine, heroin, codeine and methadone – all opiates – are now considered among the most highly abused and addictive drugs available in the world.
The use of tablets to obtain peaceful detachment from worries, pain and demands of life can begin slowly but can then quickly escalate as the brain adjusts to the drugs requiring more and more to get the same effect. This is called tolerance.
Stopping the medication is no easy feat due to the uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms such as feelings of irritability, anxiety and agitation, restlessness and insomnia, hot and cold sweats and goose bumps, muscle ache and pains, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Drug-seeking behaviours are the primary warning signs of prescription drug abuse, regardless of the chemical make up of the medication. These behaviours include:
- Frequent requests for refills from physicians
- Losing prescriptions and requesting replacements regularly
- Crushing or breaking pills
- Stealing or borrowing prescription medications from family members, friends, or co-workers
- Consuming prescriptions much faster than indicated
- Visiting multiple doctors for similar conditions
- Stealing or forging prescriptions
- Ordering prescription medications over the internet
Recovery from prescription medication addiction
Recovery from a prescription drug addiction is very difficult and it is for this reason that professional medical treatment is recommended to assist withdrawal, while professional therapeutic intervention and strong aftercare support gives the best chance of addiction recovery and long term rehabilitation success.