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Prescription Drug Addiction

What is a prescription drug?

A prescription drug is any medicine that requires a doctor’s prescription before its purchase. Usually, prescription drugs work by either restraining or endorsing chemical reactions in the brain. There are three distinct classes of prescription drugs that may cause an addiction:

Stimulants: mainly prescribed for the disorder known as attention deficit hyperactivity

Opiates: mainly prescribed for the treatment of severe or chronic pain

Tranquilizers/Sedatives: mainly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety or sleep disorders

All of these prescription drugs can cause the person who is taking them to become addicted. These drugs can only be prescribed by a licensed medical doctor, optometrist, dentist or veterinarian. The doctor prescribes these drugs and the manner in which they need to be taken. Some people are predisposed to become addicted to these types of drugs, regardless of the reason for the prescription: injury, chronic pain, or depression.

However, most of the people who actually become addicted to prescription drugs do not begin taking these drugs with the intention to become addicted to them. Most of the individuals take these drugs as medication to help them with their condition. But these drugs also have the ability to provide a pleasurable feeling.

These drugs may also cause a gradual tolerance so that more drugs are needed in order to produce the required effect. This is why many prescription drugs can become physically or psychologically addictive, leading to prescription drug addiction.

What are the dangers of prescription drug addiction?

As with any other drug abuse, this one also is dangerous. The risks may differ depending on the type and quantity of drug abused. Most of the effects include:

  • Sedation
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Gastrointestinal complaints, which may include nausea, diarrhea, and constipation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Depressed respiration
  • Changes in blood pressure or heart rate

Can prescription drug addiction be treated?

Yes, it can, like any other drug addiction. However, the abrupt discontinuation of prescription drugs can lead to serious medical complications, such as convulsions or seizures. The withdrawal from these drugs needs to be attempted only under close medical supervision, as it can be dangerous otherwise. Withdrawal from drugs without appropriate medical monitoring can be life-threatening.

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