What are Prescription Drugs?
Prescription drugs are prescribed to individuals to treat their diseases or the negative symptoms that come with their diseases. Prescription drugs can make debilitating diseases become less painful, troublesome, and unpleasant and help the individual to lead a happier, healthier life. There are many different prescription drugs that treat a variety of illnesses, so it is important to understand the benefits, side effects, and consequences of each.
Sometimes, people take prescription medications even when they don’t have a need for it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an estimated 52 million Americans have used prescription drugs when it wasn’t medically necessary. This recreational use of drugs can lead to prescription drug addiction, which can be very harmful to an individual’s physical and mental health.
What are the Different Types of Prescription Drugs?
There are three main categories of prescription drugs: Opioids, Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants, and CNS Depressants.
Opioids are prescription drugs that are prescribed to relieve pain, but they don’t actually lessen inflammation, fight infection, or solve the individual’s health problem; they affect chemicals in the brain to make it seem like it’s helping them. Opioids make the brain produce high levels of dopamine, which is a chemical released when an individual is happy. Individuals may become addicted to this “high” feeling with opioid use, so opioid prescription medications can be extremely dangerous.
Well-known opioids include:
- OxyContin is a brand-name prescription drug that contains pure oxycodone, a narcotic painkiller, and is used to treat moderate to severe pain.
- Vicodin contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen, making it a narcotic High levels of Vicodin use can result in liver damage.
- Fentanyl is the active ingredient in prescription drugs such as Actiq, Fentora, and Duragesic. This drug is only used in extreme cases where other less powerful opioids do not work.
- Morphine is a powerful prescription pain-killing ingredient used in brand-name medications such as Avinza, Duramorph, and DepoDur.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants help to stimulate the brain. CNS stimulants work by affecting the brain chemicals in charge of helping the individual to focus. These drugs are helpful for people suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disorder where individuals cannot focus or concentrate. CNS stimulants can help an ADHD sufferers to feel more attentive and focused.
Some common central nervous system stimulants include:
- Adderall is a CNS stimulant commonly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD. Amphetamine is the active main ingredient.
- Ritalin is also prescribed to help ADHD and also contains amphetamine but has a higher risk for abuse.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants work by affecting the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the brain, which serves as a communication channel between the brain cells. When this activity is slowed by a CNS depressant drug, feelings of calmness and relaxation are produced for the individual’s mind and body. CNS depressants help people suffering from anxiety, panic disorders, or muscle spasms. Central nervous system depressants help the brain release dopamine, which may make the individual more susceptible to addiction.
Well-known CNS depressants include:
- Valium is one of the oldest CNS depressants used to treat anxiety. Its long lasting qualities make it prone to abuse.
- Xanax contains alprazolam, a fast-acting active ingredient. It’s fast-acting qualities make Xanax an ideal choice for those suffering from panic disorders.
- Ativan can be prescribed to treat anxiety or insomnia and is also fast-acting due to its active ingredient, lorazepam.
- Klonopin is a CNS depressant that helps individuals suffering from panic attacks. Clonazepam is the main active ingredient in Klonopin.
- Ambien contains zolpidem, an ingredient that calms electrical activity in the brain, so it is commonly prescribed to treat insomnia.
How Does One Form an Addiction to Prescription Drugs?
Prescription drug use can turn into prescription drug abuse rather quickly without careful monitoring. Individuals may form a dependence on prescription drugs, which means that after a while, the body will not be able to function properly without the consumption of the drug. Without taking the drug once one has formed a prescription drug dependence, they will experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, or shaking.
An addiction to prescription drugs may form when the individual’s life begins to revolve around their drug use, making drug use their first priority in life. When someone begins to have relationship and family problems, financial problems, or extreme health problems as a result of their prescription drug use, they may have formed an addiction.
How Can One Get Treated for Prescription Drug Addiction?
One way to get treated for prescription drug addiction is by participating in a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), or a database used to track the prescribing, dispensing, and monitoring of the patient’s prescription drugs. By monitoring the drugs carefully, individuals have less of a chance of forming an addiction.
If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, call A Forever Recovery to get you started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. At A Forever Recovery, you can find the right resources and different treatment options for your specific needs. Call A Forever Recovery today to see what they have to offer for you!