Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Benefits of Addressing Prescription Drug Addiction Problems Early

Benefits of Addressing Prescription Drug Addiction Problems EarlyAccording to a study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2011, approximately 16 million Americans admitted to taking a prescription drug for non-medical reasons in the previous year, and seven million had done so in the previous month. There are many prescription drugs that are commonly abused, including the following:

  • Painkillers: Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet
  • Anti-anxiety pills: Xanax, Ativan and Valium
  • Sleep medications: Ambien and Lunesta
  • Barbiturates: Amytal, Membutal and Seconal
  • Amphetamines: Adderall, Ritalin and Dexedrine

Though prescribed by doctors, these drugs come with significant risks. In 2012, the government released the latest Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report looking at drug-related emergency room visits for 2010. Prescription drugs accounted for more medical emergencies than illicit drugs (435 visits vs. 379 visits per 100,000 people), and the rate of pharmaceutical-related emergencies increased 115% from 2004. These dangers underscore the importance of identifying and addressing a drug problem early.

Early Signs of Addiction

Recognizing a prescription drug problem can be tricky. While cocaine, heroin, speed and other illicit drugs typically begin with a desire to get high, many people develop a tolerance and addiction to prescription drugs while taking them for legitimate, doctor-prescribed reasons. This makes it important to know the early signs of addiction, which include the following:

  • Taking higher doses than directed by the doctor
  • Preoccupation with getting more prescription drugs
  • Buying additional drugs from illicit sources
  • Constant cravings for the drug that only subside with use
  • Difficulties concentrating or fulfilling other commitments
  • Significant shifts in mood, energy and anxiety levels

Another clear sign of addiction is the presence of withdrawal symptoms whenever dosage levels decrease or stop. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and they can present a significant hurdle for initiating a recovery.

Prescription Drug Abuse Dangers

A drug problem can be revealed through behavioral changes, but it is the physical health changes that create the most serious risks and epitomize the need for early detection and treatment. Prescription drug abuse has many dangers, including the following:

  • A fatal Central Nervous System (CNS) depression or overdose
  • Damage to vital organs like the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs
  • Unhealthy changes in heart rate, blood pressure and hormones
  • Physical changes in brain chemistry and dopamine levels
  • Basic discomfort like nausea, vomiting and constipation

Benzodiazepine-class drugs like Xanax and Valium even create risks during detoxification. An abrupt cessation of use can lead to fatal seizures and convulsions, which is one of many reasons why professional rehab is the safest and most effective way to fight an addiction.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Professional treatment helps fight drug abuse in several ways, including the following:

  • Medically supervised detox to wean the drug from the body
  • Integrated care for concurrent mental health issues
  • Screenings for drug-related physical health damage
  • Behavioral therapies to encourage healthy responses
  • Counseling to identify and address prescription drug use triggers
  • Educational therapies about addiction and recovery
  • Aftercare counseling and group support

Holistic therapies are also taught to address issues like chronic pain, insomnia and anxiety that might have inspired the original drug use.

Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline

Our counselors are ready to help 24 hours a day. Call our toll-free helpline to discuss warning signs, treatment methods and facility options, and we are happy to check your health insurance policy for rehab coverage. There are significant benefits to addressing a problem early, so please call now.

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