Prescription Drug Abuse - Albany
Prescription drug abuse is becoming a more common problem in the United States. Many people begin using these drugs as directed, but become tolerant to the doses they were prescribed. As a result, they begin to take higher doses, which then causes a physical dependence, or an addiction. There are also those who use other people's medication or prescription drugs bought from street dealers for recreational purposes. Misusing these powerful substances can cause social problems, injury, and in serious cases, death.
Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
It is not uncommon for a prescription drug abuse problem to develop when a person has been using a prescription drug as directed. Certain medications have a higher chance of being abused because of their side effects, interactions with other drugs, or because people develop a tolerance to them quickly.
Pain medication is one of the most likely types of drugs to be abused. Most pain medications are opiate-based, which means that they are derived from the seeds of the Asian poppy plant. Morphine is one of the most abused drugs, followed by its cousins OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Suboxone.
Opiate/opioid medications can induce feelings of euphoria, calm, and heightened pleasure. They cause a flood of dopamine to affect the reward/pleasure centers of the brain and destroy the brain's ability to produce dopamine naturally, making physical and mental addiction likely.
The same problem arises when people abuse other prescription drugs such as Valium, which are synthetic drugs belonging to the benzodiazepine family. Stimulants like caffeine-based drugs and amphetamines can also create addiction.
Stimulants have the opposite effect to narcotics and tranquilizers. A growing number of people are abusing stimulants to give them longer staying power at parties, or to keep them awake for prolonged periods. They are then compounding their problems by abusing narcotic drugs to counter the effects of the stimulants. For example, students are abusing Adderall, a drug that is used to treat OCD. OCD has a stimulant effect, and is often used by students instead of illegal drugs like Ecstasy.
The neurotransmitters are chemical substances that the brain uses to control the way in which the body functions. When they are affected by drugs, the brain has to readjust its method of maintaining control. It evolves to work close to normal when the drugs are present. When the drugs are no longer present, it cannot function in the same way, and this causes problems for the addict, who will feel overpowering cravings to take the drug again.
The body builds dependencies on these drugs while it also builds tolerance. People with dependency are addicted and feel compelled to take the drug. However, they need to increase the amount they take to counteract the tolerance they have developed.
Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
Treatment for a person who is abusing prescription drugs is similar to that of other drug abuse and addiction treatments. Therapy and medical care are combined for long-lasting effects on the health and psyche of each patient.
- Medical detox helps address physical dependence by rewiring the chemical responses of the brain. This is done through a combination of tapering off the doses of the addictive substance and the use of medication to address withdrawal symptoms.
- General psychotherapy and behavioral therapy methods are meant to address the mental dependence a person experiences after abusing prescription medication. Addicts learn to respond to stress in healthy ways, manage cravings, and to cope with the shame and guilt of addiction.
- Aftercare is the last step and can involve attending group meetings like Narcotics Anonymous. Aftercare seeks to keep people in recovery sober by giving them a strong support network and a healthy outlet for frustrations, struggles, and other negative emotions.
Find out more about treatments and facilities for prescription drug abuse and addiction when you call Drug Rehab Centers Albany at (518) 626-8505.