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prescription drugs

The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs

Just because your doctor prescribed you a medication, that doesn’t mean there are no risks associated with its use. As the number of prescription drugs increases, the rates of people misusing and overdosing on these medications have grown in proportion.

Though the majority of people taking prescription drugs such as opioids do so as instructed, these drugs are still highly addictive and easy to misuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides some alarming statistics on the scope of prescription medication abuse, including that in 2017, approximately 18 million Americans misused their legally prescribed medications.

Who Is at Risk?

Many prescription drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, affect your brain and your behavior, causing you to crave higher and higher doses of the drug even when it causes you harm.  

Most addictive drugs, whether prescription or otherwise, short-circuit the built-in reward system in your brain by releasing a flood of dopamine. Over time, you might not feel normal unless you are using the drug. You may begin pushing friends and family away or ignoring essential responsibilities as the addiction takes a stronger hold on you.

In hopes of curbing the risk of addiction, many states have passed stricter laws preventing health care providers from writing prescriptions for long periods. Unfortunately, people who have already become hooked on the drug have found ways to circumvent these laws, including traveling to other cities or states to see doctors and buying them illegally.

Commonly Misused Prescription Drugs

Various factors such as your age, your overall health and even your genetics all contribute to your likelihood of developing a substance abuse problem. Which prescription drugs should you and your doctor avoid if you want to avoid the risk of addiction?

Opioids

By now, the national opioid epidemic is a well-known issue, but even people who have  heard how addictive these drugs can be may not know what harmful effects they can have, or the symptoms of opioid misuse.

Doctors often prescribe opioids for pain, but they are also an ingredient in some prescription cough medicines. Drug manufacturers market opioids under a range of brand names, including OxyContin and Demerol.

Like heroin, opioids come from the morphine poppy plant. These drugs produce feelings of euphoria and drowsiness. If you have developed an addiction to opioids and try to quit using them on your own, you may experience intense drug cravings, along with flu-like symptoms, insomnia, mood changes, sweating, chills and digestive issues.

Tranquilizers

Drugs that suppress the central nervous system, such as benzodiazepines, have a calming effect, and doctors may prescribe them to patients with anxiety, panic disorders or difficulty sleeping. Brand names include Xanax, Valium and Klonopin.

Sadly, many people begin misusing benzodiazepines because they come to rely on their fast-acting sedative properties. Benzos are addictive enough on their own, but can be fatal in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol and opioids. Benzodiazepines are involved in more than 30 percent of opioid overdose cases, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

As with opioids, withdrawing from prescription sedatives can be exceptionally unpleasant, often involving symptoms like panic, muscle pain, difficulty sleeping, headaches and nausea.

A Fresh Start Is Possible

Do you suspect someone you love is misusing prescription medications, or that you have developed a substance misuse problem? Don’t lose hope. Medically managed detoxification is often the first stage of the process of achieving freedom from prescription drug addiction.

During detox, a team of professionals will monitor your health and take steps to prevent dangerous and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. You will then be able to transition smoothly into the next phases of your treatment program. To learn more about Inland Detox’s comprehensive prescription drug detox services, contact us today.