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Prescription Drug Addiction


Studies show that over 48 million Americans – nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population – have abused prescription drugs at some point in their lives. A large percentage of these people are located in Tennessee.

Prescription drug addiction in Tennessee is a huge problem. In fact, the abuse of prescription drugs is ranked as the third most prevalent type of substance abuse in the state. Only alcohol and marijuana abuse are rank higher.

The risk factor for prescription drug addiction is high for a number of reasons. For starters, many types of prescription drugs are extremely addictive. This is especially true when they are used differently than the label states, or by someone other than the patient they were prescribed too

The real reason prescription drug addiction in Tennessee is high, is because the drugs are easily accessible. Because of their legal status and how often they are prescribed, they can be found very easily. It is this widespread accessibility that contributes greatly to their abuse.

What options do you have if you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs? The answer is simple. Seek help as soon as possible. There are dozens of drug treatment centers in Tennessee that have special rehab programs focused on prescription drug addiction.

If you are struggling with prescription drug abuse or addiction, the following information is for you.

Definition of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is relatively simple to understand. It is when a person develops a mental and/or physical dependence on a prescription medication. When this happens, they will then need to take this medication on a continual basis to function normally.

Those who are addicted to prescription drugs, also develop a tolerance to their drug of choice over time. This means that they need to take higher doses of the drug more often in order to achieve the same effects.

Another factor that comes into play is withdrawal. Because the body and mind are dependent on the drug, a number of serious withdrawal symptoms come into effect when it is removed from the body. These withdrawals are usually painful, and sometimes even dangerous.

Yet, not all of those who abuse prescription drugs are actually addicted. However, there is a fine line between abuse and addiction. Abusing prescription drugs can easily lead to addiction. That is why it is important to understand what prescription drug abuse is, in addition to prescription drug addiction.

Prescription drug abuse is when a prescription medication is used in a way other than how it was intended. This consists of three factors. They include, a person without a prescription using the drug, a person with a prescription using the drug in a manner other than dictated by the label, and a person with a prescription taking larger doses than advised.

There are numerous reasons why people first start to abuse prescription drugs, but they boil down to only a handful of factors. Similar to other drugs, these prescription medications are abused to get high, reduce pain, and increase performance.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

The three most commonly abused classes of prescription drugs, include pain relievers, tranquilizers and sedatives, and stimulants. Although other types of prescription medications can be abused, these account for the vast majority of abuse in Tennessee.

Pain relievers consist of opioids. Examples include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl. These drugs are prescribed to fight pain. When abused, they create a feeling of euphoria and intense pleasure.

Tranquilizers and sedatives consist of nervous system depressants. Examples include Xanax, Valium, and Librium. These drugs are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleeping disorders. They are abused for their calming effect, characterized by marked drowsiness.

Stimulants are drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine. They are prescribed to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and depression. They produce a sense of alertness, energy, and euphoria when abused.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse has several different signs and symptoms. These tend to vary from drug to drug. However, there are some basic signs and symptoms to keep an eye out.

Abusing opioids often leads to signs and symptoms such as depression, low blood pressure, confusion, sweating, and constipation. Abusing depressants often leads to confusion, drowsiness, poor judgment, unsteady walking, and dizziness. Abusing stimulants can cause irrational behavior, irritability, rapid weight loss, and restlessness.

All prescription medications can cause the appearance of being high. If an individual shows a number of the signs and symptoms listed above and appears to be high, there is a good chance they may be abusing prescription drugs.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

There are dozens of drug treatment centers in Tennessee that offer treatment specifically for those struggling with prescription drug addiction.

It is important to call around and do your research to find a center that is the best fit for you. They all offer different treatment plans and follow different treatment missions. It is important that you select the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Despite the differences in treatment centers, most follow the same basic treatment outline for prescription drug addiction. It consists of medical detox, inpatient treatment, and aftercare.

Medical detox is the first step. It involves taking the patient through the process of prescription drug withdrawal. As the drugs leave their system, a team of doctors carefully monitor the patient’s health. If needed, special medications can be administered to reduce pain.

Inpatient treatment follows medical detox. The patient lives in a residential treatment facility for at least one month. This allows them to learn the skills needed to prevent relapse once they enter the real world. It also gives them the chance to engage in therapy that is aimed at working on the underlying reasons for addiction.

Aftercare is the final step of the treatment program. Yet, it is the one that lasts the longest. Most patients are encouraged to attend aftercare therapy sessions several times each week for an indefinite period of time. Countless studies have shown that the help and support offered through aftercare is one of the number one factors in successful relapse prevention.

Get Help

Discontinuing the use of prescription drugs and getting sober can be intimidating. Fortunately, with the help of drug treatment centers, it can be accomplished. Call a Tennessee drug treatment center today to speak with an addiction specialist for more information.