Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
One of the most common prescription drugs of abuse are opioids. Opioids such as codeine, morphine, Vicodin, hydrocodone, Fentanyl, and Oxycontin are effective painkillers used for both short-term and chronic pain. However, misusing opioids or using them for long periods of time can cause dependence and addiction, leading to withdrawal symptoms once use is stopped.
Early symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include anxiety, sweating, agitation, and insomnia. When more progressed, opioid withdrawal can induce cramping in the abdomen, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Because prescription drugs are obtained illegally, many people don’t consider non-directed uses to be drug abuse. Prescription pill abuse, however, can be just as dangerous as the abuse of illegal drugs.
Another common form of prescription pill abuse is abuse of sedatives, which depress the nervous system. The most typically prescribed nervous system depressant drugs are benzodiazepines such as Ambien, Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.
Benzodiazepines are used to help patients with anxiety and with trouble sleeping. However, withdrawal after using high doses for long periods of time can be very difficult and may include insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and even seizures.
A class of prescription drugs known as stimulants, which include Adderal and Ritalin, are commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder. Stimulants increase alertness and heart rate, and are safe to use as directed by a doctor.
When misused, however, prescription drug abuse of stimulants can lead to a withdrawal period that can be both emotionally and physically unpleasant. Stimulant withdrawal can cause low energy, lethargy, and feelings of depression.
Treatment for prescription drug abuse typically benefits from starting with a detox. Because withdrawal symptoms can be so severe, detox can help to ensure that they are managed in a safe manner.
The symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be lessened by drugs which help to reduce cravings and ease the severity of withdrawal symptoms, such as Suboxone, Methadone, Naltrexone, Vivitrol, and buprenorphine. Severe symptoms of withdrawal from sedatives and other anti-anxiety medications can be managed with the use of anti-seizure medications such as Neurontin. Suboxone is also sometimes given to patients to help with stimulant withdrawal.
After detox for prescription medication abuse has been given, the focus typically changes to treatments such as therapy and addiction recovery programs. These ongoing addiction treatments can help patients understand the factors which may have lead to their addiction, learn to resist cravings, and stop drug abuse from happening again in the future.
Medical and therapeutic methods of treatment for substance addictions often go hand-in-hand in successful drug addiction recovery. Helping someone get through the initial withdrawal period and giving them new coping skills is a strong path to permanent recovery.