Prescription drug use has become one of the biggest health crises in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 10 percent of people prescribed opioids for chronic pain develop a substance use disorder. While opioids are the most abused type of prescription drug, there are other categories of drugs that trigger misuse and dependency.
At The Raleigh House, we provide in-depth therapeutic intervention to address prescription drug addiction. Our multidisciplinary approach provides treatment strategies that address the core components of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.
Prescription drugs are classes of medications that can only be legally obtained in the United States with a physician’s prescription. These drugs relieve pain, treat infections, address mental health disorders, and help manage or cure a broad assortment of medical conditions. Though the overwhelming majority of physicians prescribe medications very carefully and for a specific course of treatment, they can be either unintentionally or deliberately misused. The drugs that are most often misused fall into three categories: opioids, stimulants, and depressants.
When prescription stimulants, depressants, or opioids are misused continually, addiction and even dependency can occur. Addiction involves impulsive or compulsive consumption of a substance in spite of the potential for devastating consequences. These consequences might include income loss, family alienation, legal challenges, and death. Prescription drug dependence involves the body developing a tolerance for the drug and debilitating physical symptoms when the use of the drug suddenly stops.
There are numerous types of prescription medications that help us live richer, longer, healthier lives. These medications include antibiotics, antiviral drugs, prescription hormones, and other pharmaceuticals that alleviate infection and correct abnormalities. However, drugs that are commonly misused tend to modify brain function and create pleasurable and/or desirable sensations. These drugs generally fall into the following three categories:
Opioids are used to manage severe or chronic pain without providing anti-inflammatory effects. They do not cure or treat any disease. They work by inhibiting pain signals in the brain and triggering the release of dopamine. This phenomenon can create a euphoric sensation, but the feeling can diminish with continued use, requiring higher and higher doses to achieve the same reaction. Increasing dosages and frequency of use can cause significant medical concerns, even when used according to the physician’s instructions. High doses of opioids can repress the instinct to breathe.
The most common prescription opioids include:
Depressants are prescription drugs that inhibit feelings of stimulation. They include sedatives, hypnotics (drugs like Ambien and Seconal), and tranquilizers. These drugs address numerous conditions, and are prescribed to people who experience panic attacks, disordered sleep, and anxiety. (Opioids are considered types of depressants, but they specifically attach to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord.)
Common prescription depressants include:
A stimulant is a type of drug that elevates neurotransmitters that control the formation of memories and the arousal response. Stimulant drugs enhance energy, increase focus, improve cognition, and raise the heart rate. They address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders like treatment-resistant depression. When taken at the correct dose, they are among the most effective treatments for ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. However, misuse can impair brain signals, inhibit impulse control, and trigger addiction.
The most common stimulants include:
Issues with prescription drug addiction and dependency don’t have to be a habitual drain on your health, finances, happiness, and well-being. The Raleigh House team provides comprehensive treatment strategies for prescription drug misuse and addiction including:
If you are struggling with prescription drug addiction, please contact the caring staff at The Raleigh House. Let us help you heal.